It's been too long since I listed my favourites here and I've missed the thrill of looking back at a month of my life and deciding which of the items I consumed during that period actually brought me joy. This list combines two months because the end of Jan was too terrible for me to find the time and energy to write. It also excludes books as I'll be writing a post about my reading challenge/goal for this year while listing all the books I've read so far. So with all that said, here's my first list of favourites in 2019:
App - Forest
I came across this app while delivering the Google Garage's session on keeping your family safe online. This app makes you put your phone aside to concentrate on what you're doing while it grows a digital tree for you in the background. You can select the duration for which you wish to avoid the temptation of picking up your phone, and the size of your tree varies based on that. It goes without saying that if you click out of this app and open another one on your phone, your tree dies.
Over the course of time, you'd have grown an online forest and it's very satisfying to go back and look at the number of minutes or hours you've spent properly concentrating on a task without fiddling with your phone. The paid version of this app will let you plant real trees in the real world so if that's an option you'd like to consider, then do check it out.
My 60-minute tree is, in fact, growing in the background as I'm sat here typing out this post :)
Movie - Top Secret
The mother of all parody movies and visual comedy! You would need the Forest app while watching this one because every time you look away from the screen, you run the risk of missing a nice visual gag. It follows the story of a famous American rock and roll singer who is invited to Germany to perform at a music festival. One thing leads to another and he gets entangled in an underground resistance plot to free an imprisoned scientist.
If you're watching this on Amazon Video, be sure to pause every now and then to read the trivia section. It's gold!
TV Show - Noresemen
If you're about to go into this show thinking that it's a historical drama that will tell you a lot about the Viking Age, you're not totally off. What you might not expect, however, is the dark humour and modern-day social commentary.
There's gore, of course, but also scenes that might trigger your gag reflex. So try to avoid snacking while watching this show - you might either puke or end up choking on something while wiping off tears of laughter from your face.
Podcast - The Good Place
Holy motherforking shirtballs! For fans of the show 'The Good Place', here's a brilliant podcast by NBC with behind-the-scenes details and interviews with the cast and creators of the show. It's hosted by Marc Evan Jackson (who plays Shawn) who is by far, my favourite podcaster till date. He's well-spoken, well-prepared, and amazing at interviewing people to craft a fun story.
I know so much trivia about this show now that it's not even funny. Go check it out if you're already a fan! If not, go watch the show, become a fan, and then listen to the podcast. Either way, you need this in your life.
Wellness - Moon Tea
I've been following Michelle Phan since 2012. She's one of the first make-up gurus that Youtube ever saw. I followed her through her journey of partnering with big brands, starting one of her businesses, and then expanding to own and run her own make-up company. She gradually cut back on her online presence to focus more on her mental health, business, and personal relationships. She no longer uploads helpful youtube videos with everyday tips and hacks but when inspiration strikes, she takes to Instagram to post a story or two.
She created moon tea after being inspired by Sailor Moon, one of her favourite manga series. You can watch her make it here or follow the instructions below:
- Fill 1/4 of a mug with cold milk.
- Leave an Earl Grey tea bag and one cube of sugar in it for a few minutes.
- Swirl it around so that the milk begins to change colour and the mug smells of Earl Grey.
- Meanwhile, boil a kettle (I usually swirl the teabag in the milk for as long as it takes for the water to boil).
- Once boiled, pour the water into the mug to fill it.
- Steep for three minutes.
To me, this is the ultimate hygge mug of tea. I've always been a fan of Earl Grey but this tea is my cozy-time favourite these days. I even make it at work.
Shower Gel - Korres Lavender Blossom
My evening routine involves showering before bed. The minute I turn on the shower, my body immediately starts relaxing because it knows it's about to get some rest. I try to find new lavender scents for me to apply on my body before I go to bed because in my experience, they've been very comforting and relaxing. I've had my fair share of bad, sleepless nights for months but I'm pretty confident I've figured out what works for me now.
I've always loved the brand Korres but it's never been my go-to brand because it's not the cheapest one out there. But I got this shower gel and another wild rose one from this brand while shopping at TK Maxx for waayyyyy less than half price. It was a steal!
It smells lovely without drying out my skin during these winter months. This shower gel has definitely made shower-time more enjoyable :)
Hand cream - L:A Bruket Wild Rose
I first came across this Swedish brand at my nail salon, which, I later learned was the only store that sold these products in Edinburgh. I've always found the scents fascinating and finally decided to get myself a hand cream from them in my favourite scent - wild rose.
I've always had the routine of applying cuticle oil and hand cream before bed but with this new addition, I genuinely look forward to bedtime and the amazing scent of wild roses it brings. Moreover, it's the most moisturising hand cream I've ever owned and a little goes a long way. Highly recommend!
Eyebrow filler - Soap & Glory Archery Brow Tint and Precision Pencil
I've never loved an eyebrow filler more - there's very little hassle and time waste with this one. It comes with a brush applicator for the tint on one side and a pencil/crayon on the other. I go in with the tint first and finish things off with the pencil. What I love most about this product is that it doesn't even make it look like I've got makeup in my eyebrows. It's very subtle but equally effective. Five stars!
Restaurant - Roseleaf Bar Cafe
Cocktails in teapots - 'nuff said!
Roseleaf is one of the places Shane and I visited for the first time during a date night back in January. It's located in a charming part of town and has great reviews for both food and drinks. I remember remarking that as an Indian, I was very pleased with the quality (and even authenticity) of their pakora starter. It was better than some that we've tried from Indian restaurants in the UK.
Great ambience - it almost has the old-timey feel of a tea room, which is probably intentional considering the cocktails they serve in teapots. I must say that it's a bit crammed especially if you're a small party of two, but you'll still have a swell, cozy time.
I lost my old bluetooth headphones last month and being at the emotional age of a grandma, I asked Shane to get me exactly the same set that I had before. Shane, being at the emotional age of a toddler, got me something completely different from what I'd been using up until that point and I almost stuffed the new set down his throat for refusing to follow precise instructions (how hard can it be?).
In the end, my desperation to listen to audiobooks trumped my disdain at having to embrace something new and unfamiliar. All I had to do was put these new headphones on and walk for five minutes, and I was in love. It is time, my friends, for another list within this list:
- These are the first set of headphones I've owned that fit snugly in my ears with no threat of falling out.
- It was the fastest, most hassle-free bluetooth pairing I've ever come across.
- Simple, efficient design that makes it easy to store and charge to 100% at all times.
- Amazing connection range of up to 33 ft within my device.
- Great audio quality.
There's a reason why this shit is a bestseller on Amazon UK with over a thousand 5-star reviews.
And that's it for this instalment of my monthly favourites. Check out previous favourites here. Like I said, I managed to keep this list short by not mentioning any of the books I've read during this time. I'll be writing more posts specifically dedicated to the books soon.
Do let me know in the comments down below if you've tried anything listed above. I'm also curious to know if you have any favourites to share with me today :)