Summer came early (May ’16)

life

A video I made a few months back of the first warm lake day. The music isn’t mine, so YouTube won’t let the video play on some devices, but I couldn’t help myself from using this Tame Impala song, I feel like it – together with the images – mirrors perfectly the way I felt that day, the way I perceived it. So if you’re able to watch it (I think it should work for all computers), I hope you enjoy x

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July ’16 playlist

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I was going through some of my old playlist and stumbled across one that once had the purpose of getting me pumped for a specific concert that was coming up. A playlist made up exclusively out of Youth Lagoon and Mild High Club. I completely forgot that Mild High Club used to be one of my favourite bands to listen about half a year ago and now having rekindled my love for them I don’t understand how I was able to forget them. I’m infatuated with their dreamy, nostalgic, psychedelic soft rock sound and thanks to Spotify and their “similar artist” section, I’ve discovered tons of new artists with a similarly hazy feel to their music. And alas, this month’s playlist was created! Once again I feel this month’s music choices accurately reflect this month’s mood. Ever since summer’s arrival I’ve been feeling sleepy, dazed, in a seemingly endless dreamlike state (no, I’m not on drugs btw) and all I want to do is lay by the lake, soak up the sun and daydream my summer away. So here’s a playlist if you feel like you’re in a corresponding situation. Enjoy x

“Music is an outburst of the soul.”
– Frederick Delius

  1. “Faded” – HOMESHAKE
  2. “Hawaiian Boi” – Triathalon
  3. “Windowpane” – Mild High Club
  4. “Recurring” – Allah-Las
  5. “Warned You” – Good Morning
  6. “Chameleon World” – Jerry Paper
  7. “Shelter Song” – Temples
  8. “Making a Fool of You” – HOMESHAKE
  9. “Giving Up” – Travis Bretzer
  10. “Famous Phone Figure” – Allah-Las
  11. “The Noose of Jah City” – King Krule
  12. “Sleep Apnea” – Beach Fossils
  13. “Catalina” – Allah-Las
  14. “All I Wanna Do” – The Beach Boys
  15. “Border Line” – King Krule
  16. “100 Million” – Charlie Hilton (feat. Mac Demarco)
  17. “Goodbye Weekend” – Mac Demarco
  18. “Artifact” – Allah-Las
  19. “Skiptracing” – Mild High Club
  20. “Baby Blue” – King Krule

Be sure to check out some of the links – some of the music videos are really cool!

And for fellow Spotify users:

Stop numbing my heart

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Is it alright to feel numb? When you wake up in the morning, hear the news stories from across the globe of terrorism, murder, hatred. When you wake up and the first thing you see is the news of some horrific event that took place near or far, it doesn’t really matter where, the reporter’s emotionless face, stale words, dry eyes. The viewer’s just the same, maybe a short gasp in the name of God, maybe a teardrop in the duct of their eye, but always followed by a change of channel, a change of story, no change in determination for something to be done. We’ve become numb to the news. We’ve become used to the evil in this world.

I feel separated from these atrocities. No one I know personally has been injured or murdered as a cause of these attacks, in fact, no one I know has been anywhere near the cities they took place in. I don’t know any of the victims. I’ve never met them, never talked to them, never been friends of them, never loved them, never had a connection to them. But does this give me reason to forget their deaths? To brush it off? To ignore it? To shed a tear followed by a change of channel?

The world seems to be worsening everyday, yet I don’t feel moved enough to demand change. I haven’t done anything to help stop these crimes against humanity from happening, all I’ve done is felt sorry for the victims, exchange a few words of disgust with people I know, felt shame for the human race and hopeless for our future.

The media has made us accustom to such cruelty, violence and seemingly inevitable, unstoppable terror. I feel little, almost nothing because I have been taught that this is how the world goes. Dog eat dog. Life’s unfair. Utopia is impossible. Such crimes are being accepted as the norm, as something that’s simply bound to happen in a world like ours, something that we can do nothing about, something that should be acknowledged as terrible, but inexorable.

I feel helpless, hopeless, weak and fragile. I feel as though nothing can be done, or at least nothing can be done by someone as small and powerless as myself. And if nothing can be done, why feel heartbroken and grief-stricken when you can just feel numb.

But I know I’m wrong. Of course something can be done. And it all starts with the mind. The fact that I’ve become numb is a sign that the media has achieved their purpose, it’s a sign that the humans – if they can even be called that anymore – that have caused these crimes and violences against innocent people are winning.

We have to remember we are all one. One world. One human race. One purpose of seeking happiness and avoiding suffering. We are all connected. Even if I don’t know any of the victims personally, they are still humans. Humans that don’t deserve the pain that has been caused them. Humans that don’t deserve any hurt at all. Humans that could have as easily been me or someone I know, someone I love. We have to reconnect ourselves with each other. We have to empathise and really FEEL each other’s pain.

By all means we shouldn’t spend all day dwelling in bed, drowning in our own tears, torturing ourselves with the pain we imagine the victims and their loved must be feeling, and despairing because we feel so much hurt and anger towards the world. We must accept these emotions and turn them into something useful, powerful. We must turn this energy into hope, determination and courage. Use it to fight unitedly against source of the problems. Use it to spark change in our hearts, minds and actions.

We cannot go on letting ourselves be desensitised.

 

 

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A bit of psycha-delicious indulgence

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Lately I’ve been obsessed with the 60’s and 70’s. Maybe it’s because of my long-term love for Tame Impala and discovering their music inspirations are all from these decades. Maybe it’s the fact that we discussed the hippie subculture in history a few weeks ago which reminded me of the documentary Woodstock: Three Days of Peace and Love that I was now dying to watch again. Maybe it’s because of the recent fashion trends of big sunglasses, going braless and flared trousers. Maybe it’s my infatuation with Fargo season 2. Maybe it’s because it seems the world is getting more and more screwed up everyday, I feel a craving to just call myself Flower Rainblossom, preach love and happiness and go live in a rainbow.

Well whatever the reason(s), it’s definitely been reflecting on my recent music choices.

I’ve been listening to a Spotify playlist called “60’s Psychedelic Rock” created by David R-k (whoever on earth that is) that I want to share with you today. It consists of, as the title so eloquently reveals, classic psych rock music artist from that era, like Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors and The Who. It’s definitely got me feeling a certain way – dazed and confused, immersed in the trippy, nostalgia-provoking melodies and fuzzed-out vocals, perfect for a lazy, hazy, lush summer afternoon spent at the beach.

I hope you enjoy as much as I do. And cheers to this David who created the playlist. You saved me a lot of time, mate.

And since I already mentioned my love, Tame Impala, I thought I might as well share their unreleased album from 2013 called A Transparent Night, which isn’t on Spotify. I only discovered it a few weeks ago and shrieked out of overjoy. It just proves Kev has always been a musical genius, it’s perfectly perfect. Enjoy as well x

Lately I’ve been loving #1

life, music

Hello!

If you weren’t able to guess the content of today’s blog post from the title, I’d like to share some things with you that I’ve been loving lately. More commonly known as “Favourites”. But I wanted to make it sound original. Sorry.

Sometimes I feel like my friends or family members aren’t interested in the same things I am, so I have all this built-up energy for conversation about things that I’ve been obsessing over these last few weeks/months, and I desperately need to let it out somewhere! So here I am, about to either bore you or, more hopefully, inspire you with the stuff that I love. Enjoy!

ART

If you know me, you know that I’m a masssiiiveee fan of Tame Impala. And if you’ve ever tried to hack my phone so you can post stupid things from Facebook account making me sound like an utter imbecile, you might’ve noticed I have weird (to you) / beautiful (to me) background images. All courtesy of the wonderful, the incomparable, the unquestionably gifted Leif Podhajsky (read that twice). Leif’s a graphic designer and art director from Byron Bay, Australia, of Czech origin and based London. He’s most well-known for his album art for artists such as Tame Impala, Foals, The Vines and many more, which is how I “discovered” him. I’ve been adoring his work for quite a while now, album covers but also other artwork, and I just can’t get enough. I love the themes of nature, the use of mirroring, spiralling and waves in his artworks, as well as the blend of colours. It goes so well with Tame Impala’s music somehow, psychedelic and dreamy almost – and maybe that’s why I love it so much: it reminds me of their music which I ADORE. Basically, I’m in love and you should definitely check him out. Here are some of my favourites.

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and probably my favourite (and shining star of literally all my backgrounds)

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BOOKS

Although one of my New Year’s resolutions was to read at least 3 books a month (a very realistic goal), I’m finding it incredibly difficult to find 30 min everyday to sit down with a cuppa and just READ aaaaaand haven’t actually read any new books this month. So you could say, the challenge isn’t going very well.

Although I haven’t started any new books, I have been able to finish a couple this month, one of those being The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I had to complete this book for school, but even if the book weren’t obligatory I would have definitely chosen to read simply for free-time pleasure. I adored the strong themes of female community, spirituality and love in all shapes and forms. The book is a truly touching coming-of-age tale set in South Carolina in the 1960’s of a 14-year-old white girl growing up through religious/spiritual experiences, realisation of her own racism and learning about what loving and being loved means. The book is packed with symbols (most of them in connection with bees) which consequently gives it a magical, secretive feel to it. It’s an easy and fairly quick read and I couldn’t recommend it more.

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Another book I started in 2015 and have only managed to finish a couple of weeks ago is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Like Kidd’s book, Rebecca revolves around women, to be exact two opposite/opposing female antagonists, the two Mrs de Winter’s: The one alive, an obedient, shy and devoted wife, the other the dead (yet manages to indestructibly live on), infamous and rebellious Rebecca. Rebecca is a dark, heavy and tragic story soaked with desire and secrecy, love and murder. A slightly more difficult and less happy smiley book, yet stunning in all ways and definitely worth a read (or two).

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MUSIC

Guess what I’m doing right now (besides typing these exact words). That’s right, I’m listening to music. Duh, always. And who am I listening to? Ah, very good question interested reader!

Last week my Mum went on a shopping spree, the best kind – tickets to various and wonderful gigs. One of those tickets was for Youth Lagoon, who I discovered by literally looking up who’s coming to Zurich anytime soon (being hopeful and desperate for good gigs). I have been obsessively listening to my boy Trev, and since this will be his first and last gig ever in Zurich (due to something like early retirement?!), I have been trying to soak up as much of his magic before the concert. His music is so dreamy (maybe trippy would be a better word) and just. simply. addicting, since I have quite a large weakness for lo-fi pop.

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Supporting his gig will be my latest obsession Mild High Club, who THANK GOD won’t be retiring anytime soon, since their debut album Timeline only came out last September. And OH MY have I listened to that album back-to-front a million times. Their name fits them well, since there music definitely has a trippy/psychedelic soft rock feel to it. Others have described their music as “LA slack funk psychedelia” and I have no idea what that means, but it sounds about right. Plus their music has something quite vintage about it and reminds me of the Beatles. Basically, I can’t stop listening to them and you should definitely look them up.

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TV

my favourite form of procrastination.

Topping my list would be without a doubt Fargo (pronounced with a proper MinnesOtan “o”). When the first season came out a couple years ago, I think I watched episode N°1 with my family, but never really payed much attention to it after that. I probably deemed it boring or “too slow”, but boy should I have given it the benefit of the doubt. At the end of last year I started to re-watch the first season, became OBSESSED (and was in utter shock about how amazing the story was, because lil’ gullible me didn’t realise that the

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intro didn’t actually mean it really is a true story). But even so, I was utterly captivated by the almost comical Minnesotan characters who so innocently, sometimes even accidentally, create trouble which grows and grows and eventually explodes in their faces, and the witty and so damn brilliantly written script with a (large) touch of dark comedy. I adore the unique style of the way Fargo was filmed, the location and music. All put together made an astounding series. Its continuation, season 2, didn’t disappoint either. Location loyally stayed put, so instead we travelled through time to the 70’s, which in my opinion gave Fargo’s already incomparable style an extra cherry on top. If you haven’t seen it, what are you still reading my stupid blog?

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Other favourites were old series rejuvenated by my recent laziness and procrastination, one of those continuing the 70’s theme, so appropriately named “That 70’s Show”. I’m such a sucker for 20-minute American comedy shows in the ranks of Friends and New Girl and this one fits in perfectly. Although I never lived in the 70’s, I’ve somehow obtained a nostalgia for era of Led Zeppelin 8 tracks. There’s not much more to say to this show, except that if you have a lot of time on hand and you enjoy to chuckle, there are 8 seasons of that 70’s show calling your name from the dark corners of the internet, a.k.a. illegal streaming websites (shhh).

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Other shows that will undoubtably turn you into an obsessed lethargic slug for the next few weeks are Veronica Mars (don’t judge) and Making a Murderer. Brought back from the dead, I’ve started watching one of my top childhood series starring Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars, teenage detective. It’s got crime, it’s got drama, it’s got romance and due to it’s brilliantly written script even a bit of humour. It’s seriously so good, and not even necessarily in a guilty-pleasure kinda way, so give it a try if you want.

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As for Making a Murderer, you MUST gives this a try. I don’t think I’ve ever watched such an intriguing, heart-breaking documentary series that forced me to spend an entire Sunday night (4 hours to be exact) in front of my computer screen. The story of Steven Avery is truly exceptional and it demonstrates how problematic his case was and in general, how corrupt and messed up the American justice system truly is. It’s without a doubt one of the most extraordinary series I’ve had the pleasure of viewing.

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FILMS

Since the (#)Oscars(sowhite) are coming up at the end of the month, let’s talk about some of the (super white) nominees, that I’ve seen and most likely will never forget.

A couple weeks ago my best friend and I went to the cinema to see little Leo in his latest feature, The Revenant, which so appropriately means “I’m coming back for you, you son of a bitch” or something like that. I’m a massive fan of Leo, and I’m a massive fan of Alejandro González Iñárritu and a film that meshes them up together just had to be good. And oh my word was it. Iñárritu has such a unique style and since I saw his other banger Birdman I was completely intrigued and captivated by it, and The Revenant didn’t disappoint, as I was hoping it would have the same “feel” to it. The cinematography is out of this world, not only the scenery of Canadian/Argentinian/USAs/Whereverthehelltheydecideedtoshootaswell’s wilderness, but basically every single scene took my breath away. The story was masterly told, the themes of revenge, father-and-son relationship, and survival are portrayed and delivered perfectly and most definitely provoked emotions. The film was long and gruesome, whilst simultaneously being absolutely beautiful. Simply said, an immaculate film worth a watch.the_revenant_trailer_alexa_65_footage

Another Oscar contender (and in my opinion clear winner) was a film I saw yesterday called Room, you might’ve heard of it (or heard me weeping away last night). Also appropriately named, Room revolves around a kidnapped woman and her 5-year-old son Jack who have been kept locked inside, you guessed it, a ROOM (“Ma” has been there 7 years, her son since the day he was born). This film made me feel all kinds of emotions; it was so incredibly tense, heavy and utterly heart-breaking. Arguably the most interesting thing about this film, besides the strong relationship, the unique bond between Jack and Ma, are Jack’s narrations. We learn how he sees the “world” around him and how he copes with learning that there are two sides to room’s wall, that something more exists between room and outer space. Brie Larson’s performance was exceptional, faultless, as was Jack Tremblay’s, an obviously talented child actor who also gave an impeccable, natural performance. I haven’t seen a movie this good, this heart-wretching, for a while. 110% recommended.

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INSTAGRAM

Having already mentioned The Revenant, someone who I think deserves a little shoutout is chivexp on Instagram a.k.a. Emmanuel Lubezki a.k.a. the Oscar-winning cinematographer of Birdman, who is once again nominated this year for his magic on The Revenant. Emmanuel’s instagram is just what you’d expect it to be: utterly breath-taking. Now you don’t have to rematch Birdman a million times to be reminded of his talents (thank god! That was exhausting). Recently he’s been posting photos, much like the one bellow, of the “Faces Of R”, gorgeous close-ups of the cast members on set, as well as shots of the filming locations of The Revenant, all absolute perfection, all reminding me why I loved the film so much. I can’t get enough of this flawless behind-the-scenes footage and have become very Instagram-jealous. Give Emmanuel a follow, you definitely won’t regret it.

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For other Instagram account recommendations of mine click here.

YOUTUBE

If you’re bored of beauty gurus giving you the verdict on the latest MAC lipstick and one of the many Alfie and Zoes doing another accent challenge, might I suggest you watch the following YouTubers.

I can’t really remember how I discovered Mr. Ben Brown, but I am very very glad I have. Ben is an ex pro-athlete turned daily vlogger who currently lives in Cape Town, SA…well kinda. He travels all around and takes his audience (you and I) with him. I adore his vlogs and his Visual Vibes videos, which are both decorated with spectacular drone shots and slow-mo sequences of the most extraordinary places on earth. Apart from that, since vlogging involves a lot of talking from Ben himself, he seems like a really really nice guy with a very caring personality. I love following him around (that doesn’t sound weird, right?) on his trips and even everyday adventures. Ben inspires me to travel more and well….get a drone. maxresdefault

Another daily vlogger I adore is Casey Neistat, a film-maker from New York City. I discovered Casey through Ben (cheers Ben!) and he has basically become my ultimate role-model. Casey’s vlogs are some of the most incredible vlogs I have ever seen, he just seems to get it right every single day. This guy is crazy talented. He can turn the most boring day into a highly entertaining mini film. He inspires me with his amazing skills as a film-maker and relentless work ethic, which he obtained from having to work like crazy to get to where he is today, since (if you watch his Draw My life video) hasn’t had the easiest life. He really motivates me to push harder in life and to get STUFF DONE to get to where I want to be. I love his tough-love attitude and unorthodox lifestyle, he is without a doubt one of my favourite YouTubers ever.

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aaaaand that’s it! Thanks for reading x

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Winter ’15 playlist

music

Yes I know it’s 2016, bear with.

I apologise in advance, because what’s about to come may be the strangest winter playlist ever created. I’m pretty much 110% sure my winter blues are back, which is why half the songs are beautifully depressing and send shivers down my spine (in addition to the ones caused by the bloody cold January temperature) and the other without a doubt more fitting in a June or July playlist (how many more months to go?!). It seems my overwhelmingly intense nostalgia for summer (Tame Impala literally translate into summer for me) and my seemingly unpreventable sadness during winter (Bon Iver why u so upset 2) is reflecting in my recent music choices. Basically I’m spending every third second hopelessly, pathetically wishing for the warmer months to return ASAP and being a real grump because the unwanted winter (especially one that doesn’t even include snow, for god’s sake) has properly arrived now, timed so perfectly, in company with school.

Someone get me on a plane to the Southern Hemisphere, I can’t stand my own negative vibes any longer.

Oh and on a lighter note, I’ve also added some Bowie to the playlist, because he passed away today and I’m sad. So let’s celebrate his music once more whilst we cry ourselves to sleep.

Anywayyy haha weeeelll this isn’t a diary so sorry for that emotional outpour! Enough, Ange!

Let’s listen to some music!!

I’ve now created a Spotify account for my blog’s playlists, so if you have Spotify (you just must!) you can nowlisten to my weird/sad/nostalgically-provoked playlist over there. Yay!

Soooo here’s my playlist. It’s just about 2 hours long, including 30 songs from 5 different artists (that must means there’s an average of 6 songs per artist! My maths skills are on fire!). Some songs are very old, some are very new, but they’re all pretty great. Hope you enjoy!

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

– David Bowie

1. “Psychotica” – Bootleg Rascal

 2. “Sharks” – Bootleg Rascal

3. “Overflow” – Bootleg Rascal

4. “Sharp Teeth” – Bootleg Rascal

5. “Asleep In The Machine” – Bootleg Rascal

6. “Shade” – Bootleg Rascal

7. “Heroes” – David Bowie

8. “Let’s Dance” – David Bowie

9. “Under Pressure” – Queen feat. David Bowie

10. “Life On Mars?” – David Bowie

11. “17” – Youth Lagoon

12. “Daydream” – Youth Lagoon

13. “Posters” – Youth Lagoon

14. “Cannons” – Youth Lagoon

15. “Montana” – Youth Lagoon

16. “The Knower” – Youth Lagoon

17. “Skinny Love” – Bon Iver

18. “Michicant” – Bon Iver

19. “Holocene” – Bon Iver

20. “Flume” – Bon Iver

21. “Beach Baby” – Bon Iver

22. “The Less I Know The Better” – Tame Impala

23. “‘Cause I’m A Man” – Tame Impala

24. “Eventually” – Tame Impala

25. “Keep On Lying” – Tame Impala

26. “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control” – Tame Impala (the title seems longer than the actual song)

27. “Music To Walk Home By” – Tame Impala

28. “Mind Mischief” – Tame Impala

29. “Endors Toi” – Tame Impala

30. “Desire Be Desire Go” – Tame Impala

Here’s the Spotify playlist:

P.S. Here’s an extra treat of a quote from David Bowie which I just love:

“I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human.”

Captured: December ’15

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December is my favourite month of the year. To me, it’s a month full of celebration. In my house the festivities begin early, before the party week that is Christmas and New Year’s, since my birthday takes place (every year it seems) on the 3rd. December’s a month full of spending time with your loved ones, being grateful, eating (a lot) and of course the magic of winter’s first snowflakes (who seemed to be absent this year sadly).

Having mentioned my birthday and Christmas and being grateful, I was lucky enough to receive a camera from my parents! It’s the only thing I asked for, since I’m really into films and cinematography and wanted to start making short videos, as well as the simple desire to take pictures when I’m on holiday or having everyday adventures like sunset chasing. Plus my phone’s camera is an absolute disaster. Anyway, I’m incredibly happy and grateful, my camera is my new best friend.

The day I received my camera, I started taking short videos and snapping photos here and there. I’ve now created my very first video, containing random footage from this month. Here it is!

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(Hope you enjoy!)

As for the photos, I thought it would be nice if I just shared them here…so here they are. They’re random bits and bobs I’ve collected over this month. You may notice a slight correlation between the photos and videos and that’s simply because when I film something I also take a photo of it. Or maybe 5. Especially when it comes to sunsets.

Enjoy x

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Slightly random mix (do chickens and bookshelves go well together?), but I hope you enjoyed nonetheless.

Happy New Year x

Scene from the film adaption

My reading list

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I’ve always loved books. Since I was little, I couldn’t imagine a bedtime ritual complete without one to read before I go to sleep and the inevitable boredom that accompanied  camping holidays and rainy weekends was always solved by an entertaining novel. I even partly taught myself to read in English, having been brought up in foreign country, learning German at school instead of my mother tongue. I’ve always been a book worm and so far have worked myself through quite a library, enjoying every minute and every page.

This last year I’ve been challenging myself to read some higher quality, undeniably more difficult books and even some classics that I now would be studying at school if I lived in England. Part of this idea was brought on by wanting to further my literary knowledge, outside of my English lessons, learn some new big words, idioms and writing styles, so that I could also get better at writing. But mainly, I just wanted to read some really good, possibly life-changing, memorable books. Aside from my natural curiosity and desire to read brilliant novels, I also want to broaden my literary understanding, because I possibly want to study English Literature at University a few years from now.

Fortunately, having bookishly enthusiastic parents, our shelves at home are loaded with the exact material I need.

So today, I’m going to share with you my reading list a.k.a my favourite books of all time. I’ve tried to create a list containing books from different authors, times and with completely different themes. Also, I love each of these books for completely different reasons.

Revolutionary Road

– Richard Yates

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A young couple living in a Connecticut suburb during the mid-1950s struggle to come to terms with their personal problems while trying to raise their two children.

Despite having only read for the first time this year, I can say that this book is without a doubt going to be a life-long favourite. All I can say is it’s just gorgeous. The vocabulary was very easy, although there were a handful of words that were new to me, but it didn’t get in the way of enjoying this book. It’s superbly written and the characters were described so enticingly. The story is very simple and there’s not much action, but for me it’s more about the people and their thoughts and feelings, something films and more action-filled books sometimes scape over, the depth and complexity of the people. At some stages I thought it was rambling on a bit, and although I do really believe the characters were more important than action, I did at sometimes get a bit bored and waited impatiently for something new to happen. But all in all, the book is almost perfect and once I finished it, all I wanted to do is turn back to page 1.

 

 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

– Mark Haddon

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Fifteen-year-old Christopher has an extraordinary brain; he is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever.

Although a seemingly “childish” book, The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time can offer an awful lot to any age group. For me it’s definitely simply a pleasure read, since it’s very easy whilst being utterly enjoyable. The story is so touching and meaningful, it leaves you feeling utterly sentimental with a teardrop in the corner of your eye. It’s great a book if you want to just pick something up and read quickly, whilst at the same time being entertained.

The Great Gatsby

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The Great Gatsby, follows Jay Gatsby, a man who orders his life around one desire: to be reunited with Daisy Buchanan, the love he lost five years earlier. Gatsby’s quest leads him from poverty to wealth, into the arms of his beloved, and eventually to death.

I don’t think any reading list should be created without this absolute classic. F. Scott Fitzgerald is famous for his ability to deliver tragic love stories that wrench your heart and the Great Gatsby is no exception, in fact it’s probably the best example for that. Plus, it’s an absolute dream to read. The writing is so beautiful and it completely boggled my mind how someone could tell a story so wonderfully and make it seem absolutely effortless. Although it was slightly more challenging for me to read, since I was quite young at the time (and still am) and there were an awful lot of new words I had to look up, it didn’t get in the way of me enjoying every single page. And yes, it’s better than the film (although I do love me some Leo).

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

– Stieg Larsson

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo follows a disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist as he investigates the disappearance of a wealthy patriarch’s niece from 40 years ago. He is aided by the pierced, tattooed, punk computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander. As they work together in the investigation, Blomkvist and Salander uncover immense corruption beyond anything they have ever imagined.

This book is an absolute must-have for crime novel-lovers. Unlike other books I’ve read before, where I gave up half-way through because “nothing ever happened”, I found it almost impossible to put this one down. The story is exciting, the plot is thrilling and it was fun to play detective for a change. The only thing I didn’t really like about this book was its writing – after having read some classics, like I’ve mentioned above, I really noticed the difference in the quality of the story telling. The problem was obviously caused by the fact that the book was translated from Swedish into English, and I really do believe that a book loses some of its quality in that process. But nevertheless, in this case the brilliance of the book really didn’t depend on how perfectly formed each sentence was, it’s the idea, the story that far more important.

About a Boy

– Nick Hornby

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Will, a rich, child-free and irresponsible Londoner in his thirties who, in search of available women, invents an imaginary son and starts attending single parent meetings. As a result of one of his liaisons, he meets Marcus, an odd 12-year-old boy with problems at school. Gradually, Will and Marcus become friends, and as Will teaches Marcus how to be a cool kid, Marcus helps Will to finally grow up.

Sometimes it’s nice to read a book simply for a good laugh, books don’t always have to be a life-changing, deep and meaningful, sometimes all you’re looking for is a good giggle. And I can promise you, this book delivers just that. Aside from the hilarity, the story really is quite touching and will warm your heart and bring a smile upon your face. It’s hard to put down, easy and quick to read, and incredibly entertaining. Sometimes though, it did get a bit boring and I felt a little action was needed. I would recommend this book if you’re looking for something light to read that will inevitably lift your spirits.

Can a vegetarian be healthier than a vegan?

life

When I went vegan I was convinced that the vegan diet was the only healthy diet on the planet and that if you continue to eat animal products you will NEVER be healthy. The moment I turned vegan, I went a bit…you know, annoying preachy “I’m-the-better-person” vegan. I pulled disgusted faces when my family members ate their meat or drank their milk or boiled their egg. I would recite facts about the meat- and dairy-industry, facts about how darn unhealthy that yoghurt you’re eating is for you and how much cholesterol your obtaining from that omelette . I was such a know-it-all and so damn stubborn, I basically metamorphosed into the very stereotype of a vegan.

Although I still believe that a plant-based, whole foods-rich diet, abundant in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, is on of the healthiest way to eat, I don’t eat that way every day of my life. No, I eat vegan junk from time to time. I actually probably eat vegan junk more than just once a week. No, definitely more than once a week. I’m not claiming to be the cleanest eater on the planet, I am without a doubt not the fittest person you will ever meet. I eat unhealthy foods, that’s processed foods like sugar, vegetable oil, white flour, etc., on a regular basis. So, if I was that concerned about my health, that I would eliminate an entire food group for my well-being, why do I continue to eat unhealthy foods? Because in reality I don’t care about my health that much. I like eating loads of veggies, fruit and whole grains and all that jazz, but I also love cake, cookies and pancakes. And if I want to eat them, I will.

So, if I’m clearly not striving eat the healthiest diet on the planet, why am I vegan? Ethics, duh. I care about the environment and I care about the animals. Although I used to reply with “For health, ethics and environment” when something asked me why, why on earth are you vegan, I have to admit that honestly that’s just not the truth.

Some time ago I wrote a blog post titled “Why I am vegan“. I talked a bit about how I got into veganism and then explained in depth the 3 main reasons why I stayed vegan, health being the first I mention. So in a way, I’m critiquing that piece of work I wrote. No, I don’t want to delete it, all the facts I mentioned are true, I still believe every word I wrote and I think it debunks some of the health myths concerning veganism, so I still believe it can be helpful for people wanting to go vegan, or at least trying to understand veganism. The thing is, what I wrote is simply out of context. Health isn’t a motivator for why I’m vegan, maybe initially I thought it was, but now I know it really isn’t. The health benefits of being vegan are for me just that – benefits. They aren’t the reason I eat the way I eat, they’re just advantages.

As I mentioned before, I like to eat cake, and cookies and all that “good” stuff. I eat those things because I think they’re delicious, not because they’re healthy, but because I think life’s too short to deprive myself from something that I enjoy. And I believe a little bit doesn’t hurt, in fact I believe a little bit does a lot for our health – mental health. “Food for the soul”, you may call it. So even though these things contain ingredients that are unhealthy, like processed sugars, flours, oils, which all contain little to no nutritional value for our bodies, “empty calories”, I still continue to eat them. Therefore, if animal products are essentially just unhealthy foods, why would I cut them out completely, and not just keep them to a minimum as I do all the “bad” foods I mentioned above? Let’s imagine a little scenario why don’t we: Imagine animal cruelty didn’t exist (hard to, I know), imagine we obtained foods like dairy, eggs, meat and fish from a tree (trust me, I’m going somewhere with this). Just imagine that we could pluck butter cubes of a so-called “butter bush”. These butter cubes contain all the cholesterol and saturated fats that the butter from our reality contains. These butter cubes aren’t healthy (because of all the cholesterol and saturated fats), but boy oh boy can you make some delicious muffins with them. Even if these muffins aren’t good for you, would you have one from time to time? I would! Because as I said before I’m not striving to be the healthiest person on earth, because no, I don’t care about my health THAT much, that I would restrict myself from the muffins my entire life.

Did you get my point? God, I hope you did.

I’m writing this because I’m getting so annoyed by all the vegans out there claiming that the vegan diet is the ONLY healthy diet there is. See, I’m just going to have to completely disagree. Yes, if you’re vegan you automatically cut out some very unhealthy foods – animal products. But you could still eat bags and bags of potato chips and bowls and bowls of soya ice cream and pound and pounds of vegan cake, and yes, that’s extremely unhealthy. EVEN IF IT’S ALL VEGAN. Now can a vegetarian, or dare I say meat-eater, be healthier than a vegan? In short yes, I believe so. I believe that vegetarians who keep their animal byproducts-consumption to a minimum and eat a plant-based diet as the staple of their meals, and meat-eaters who say, only eat meat or fish once or twice a week and also keep their dairy- & egg-intake to a minimum, can definitely be healthier than said potato chip, soya ice cream and cake munching vegan. If you measure someone’s health in terms of how much nutritionally valuable foods and how little nutritionally valueless foods or foods with a negative impact on the body they consume, the health-concious vegetarian and meat-eater, who eat plant-based diets with a small amount of animal products, win in comparison with that vegan. But let’s say you compare said vegetarian and meat-eater to an equally health-concious vegan, who also eats a plant-based diet, simply subtracting the animal products, the vegan is healthier¹.

My point is, you can’t say the vegan diet is healthier than the vegetarian or carnist diet, because simply, you’re not being specific enough. ANY diet can be unhealthy, it depends on how much processed foods and animal products you consume. And in comparison with some vegan diets, vegetarians and meat-eaters can by all means be healthier.

So if all of this I claim is true and eating very small amounts of animal products and byproducts isn’t actually as unhealthy as we thought, why am I even vegan? Because the butter bush doesn’t exist, and because eggs, meat and fish don’t grow on trees. Because animal cruelty and therefore ethics DO play a role. I could never eat meat, dairy or eggs because I know about the cruelty involved, I know about the effects it has on our planet, I know all the contras to eating animal products, and I know there simply are no pros.

Another thing I’d like to mention, is that I don’t believe that everyone HAS to be vegan. There, I said it, you can hate me if you want to. The world doesn’t NEED everyone to go vegan, as long as you significantly reduce the amount of animal products you’re eating to your absolute minimum, the environment is going to be okay. This is why I’d definitely call myself tentative vegan. In scenarios where no cruelty is involved, like having a backyard hen or a pet cow with excess milk, I fully support vegetarianism, because simply, as long as you’re not harming other beings or the planet and only harming yourself (by eating the unhealthy food), you can do whatever you want to. As long as you get your animal byproducts from cruelty-free sources, I’m fine with it. The only the thing is, it’s extremely hard to obtain completely cruelty-free animal products, and for that reason I’m vegan and not a cruelty-free vegetarian, it’s simply much, much easier this way.

It turns eat-meaters and vegetarians away from veganism if we make it sound so extreme, like there’s no other way to be a good person and there’s no other way to be healthy. So in terms of animal advocacy, I believe in being open to cruelty-free vegetarianism and minimal meat consumption. The closer people can get to a plant-based diet, the better for the animals and the environment. Every step they take towards living a more cruelty-free life is a step in the right direction. Just don’t expect them to walk the whole path overnight. Stop scaring people away by being so blunt and stubborn about the health benefits of a vegan diet, by being so close-minded you turn more people away from veganism than you attract.

Dr. Melanie Joy, Ph.D., Ed.M., gives an incredible speech about correct animal advocacy, you can watch it here. I believe it’s so important to learn more about how to properly spread the message, instead of being so righteous and stubborn about our views.

Now, everything I wrote above is only valid since I decided to define health by physical health, as in how much nutritious food you’re giving your body and assuming you’re exercising in healthy amounts (for your body). But another, extremely important thing I’ve simply put aside for this blog post (thus far) is mental health. Mental health plays A HUGE ROLE when comparing vegans to vegetarians and meat-eaters. Some people, especially people who are currently suffering from or have suffered in the past from (an) eating disorder(s), simply CANNOT go vegan, because their mental health would suffer too much. By going vegan, they may be slightly improving their physical well-being, but damaging their mental health, and thereby NOT making themselves healthier. And I 100% value mental health over physical health, being mentally well is SO much more important. Having said that, there are some cases where people improve their mental well-being by going vegan, but honestly I’m not sure exactly how common that is. Going vegan is hard enough for people who are mentally well and capable of doing it, so people who are suffering from mental illnesses or disorders shouldn’t be pressured to go down that same path.

That’s it, I hope you understood what I was trying to explain and that this blog post isn’t too all-over the place. In short, all I wanted to say is: I don’t eat a vegan diet for my health, that vegan diets aren’t always healthier than vegetarian or meat-eater diets and that for correct vegan advocacy we shouldn’t claim them to be.

Thanks for reading,

Ange x

¹speaking completely hypothetically and without concerning mental health

 

 

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Autumn 2015 playlist

music, Uncategorized

It’s slightly colder and the leaves are looking a bit browner than usual where I live, so it’s officially autumn! Yayyyyy! Although I’d definitely call myself a summer baby (is that even a thing), I absolutely adore autumn. Actually, come to think of it, I love every season, at least the beginning: change gets me excited. But autumn is definitely in my top 5 (haha), you know, because of pumpkin pie and jumpers. But another thing I love about this time of year is the music. I no longer can listen to my summer playlists, those vibes just doesn’t fit in anymore, so I’ve had to create a new playlist so creatively labelled “Autumn 2015”. The songs are more acoustic, with beautiful voices, harmonies, almost melancholic melodies and a load of guitars, which all that somehow perfectly describe my current mood.

So in no particular order, I present you, eh, this playlist here…

“Music is the strongest form of magic.”

– Marilyn Manson

1. “Just to Put Me Down” – Mac Demarco

2. “Santa Fe” – Beirut

3. “Lost In The Light” – Bahamas

4. “Salad Days” – Mac Demarco

5. “Never Going Back Again” – Fleetwood Mac

6. “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” – Unknown Mortal Orchestra

7. “Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac

8. “Chamber Of Reflection” – Mac Demarco

9. “Hand of Man” – Django Django

10. “So Good at Being in Trouble” – Unknown Mortal Orchestra

11. “Postcards From Italy” – Beirut

12. “Islands” – The xx

13. “The Way You’d Love Her” – Mac Demarco

14. “Don’t You Want Me” – Bahamas

15. “No Way” – The Naked And Famous (amazing video too)

16. “Blue Boy” – Mac Demarco

17. “Restless Year” – Ezra Furman

18. “Full Circle” – Half Moon Run

19. “Swim and Sleep” (Acoustic Version) – Unknown Mortal Orchestra

20. “Ode to Viceroy” – Mac Demarco

21. “Faded In The Morning” (Acoustic Version) – Unknown Mortal Orchestra

22. “Elephant Gun” – Beirut

23. “My Zero” – Ezra Furman

24. “Caught Me Thinkin” – Bahamas

25. “I Got You Babe” – Bahamas

…and yes, I know Mac Demarco seems to be the headlining act, but oh boy have I been loving him recently. So, sorry if you don’t like him, this playlist must really suck for you.

But for the rest,

enjoy x

Spotify version: