I feel like I should take a moment to greet you guys, maybe hug you, invite you in, serve you a cup of tea and catch up on everything that's been going on. It feels like ages since I sat down to write and I must confess that even now, I'm typing away in a bit of a hurry. This holiday has been splendid in many ways although it landed us in three hospitals and an abandoned ISIS camp in just one week. But more on that later, I promise.
I'm here to share my monthly list of favorites with you and somehow, more than any other month, I'm certain that you'll enjoy most of the things I'm about to list here.
1. Book - A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Shane watched the movie by the same name and bought me the book, certain that I would love it. He didn't tell me a thing about it and forbade me from reading the blurb. I went into this book without knowing even a thing about it and came out two hours later with tears in my eyes. This book is phenomenal.
Later, Shane and my mom also finished reading it in one sitting, mainly because it's gripping but also because it's a very easy read. I recently recommended it to a reader of this blog who wanted to gift a book to her friend as well.
If you're new to reading or thinking of getting back into it, this is where I'd now recommend you to begin. But whether you're much of a bookworm or not, I can assure you that you won't go wrong with this masterpiece.
2. Children's Book - Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
I don't say this a lot but I am obsessed. Shane and I found this one day while we were out shopping for our little eight-year-old niece. The minute we brought this book home, we basically devoured it and even selfishly considered never parting with it. It comprises of 100 one page long bedtime stories of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, with illustrations by 60 women from all over the world. Not only is it interesting to children because of the colorful illustrations, easy story-telling, and compelling tales, but it's also a delight to the adults reading these stories out to them too.
Everything from the vision of this project to its execution is something we can all learn from.
3. TV Show - Rick and Morty
Shane's been bugging me to watch this show for ages and by the time I finally got to it, I felt like the dullest person on the planet for taking so long to jump on the bandwagon. This show, you guys.
An eccentric scientist who has mastered space travel takes his grandson along on his adventures. 'Nuff said. It reminds me of Doctor Who and South Park in equal measure, both incredible shows that are poles apart. Bringing elements that remind me of them both in one show is not just genius but also something that had been missing from my life for so long.
4. Movie - Joy
From the time I saw the trailer for this movie about a year ago, I started bugging Shane to go watch it with me. We kept putting it off until we were on that flight to India two weeks ago. I started this movie with exactly 2 hours 4 minutes of our flight remaining and kept praying that I wouldn't be interrupted right before the climax. I finished watching it as we were landing.
At the time when I watched the trailer, I had no idea that this movie was based on the life of Joy Mangano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop and many other amazing products. It's such a thrill to learn the stories of women who've gone against all odds and continued to be persistent in achieving their goals.
5. All-in-One Moisturizer - Dr.PAWPAW Original Clear Balm
Speaking of things I did on the flight, this miracle worker truly saved the day. This moisturizer is all you need if you're traveling on a flight and want to limit the volume of liquids you're planning to carry with you on board. This one tiny tube can be used as a lip balm, face and hand moisturizer, and even something to apply on the rough ends of your hair.
6. Power Bank - Anker PowerCore 20100
Another lifesaver during our travels has been this particular power bank which lasts weeks. I'm not even kidding. I won't get into the technicalities of it because you can read all about it in the link above but if you're looking for a good quality power bank that will charge two devices simultaneously for up to one week, look no further.
Although I must warn you, this ain't no tiny device. It's quite heavy and large in size so it's not going to fit into your ordinary sling bag.
7. Sunglasses - Fatface Round Clubmaster
Earlier this year, I was traveling to London during the summer and forgot to pack my sunglasses. So I quickly dropped into a Fatface store at the airport and purchased this pair of sunglasses that I thought I might use just for the duration of my trip in London. Now, it's my favorite pair and I don't go anywhere without it.
I have quite a tiny face and this is the first pair of sunglasses that fits me perfectly. This has been my constant companion in India this year. My absolute favourite!
8. Journal - Paperchase A5 flexible journal
I'm a big stationery
fan hoarder and have notebooks from almost every place I've visited. I'm serious. As far as possible, I try to go to at least a museum gift shop in a place I visit so that I can get a journal or a notebook.
This journal, however, is something I went looking for to use specifically for a new project I have in mind. Do you do the same? Do you get a new notebook for a new project? I feel that helps me get more creative and productive.
I picked this one from Paperchase because it reminds me of my mother. It's very old-timey and my mum used to have something very similar when I was growing up. In fact, I'm sure she still has it. It's a red leather-bound flexible journal with a gold edge on each paper. Beautiful!
9. Watermelon cocktail
Shane's family makes (as they call it) a "health drink" that involves -
- Cutting the top of a watermelon and scooping out all the juicy flesh.
- Blending the flesh, a few chilies, and mint leaves together.
- Returning the blended mixture into the watermelon.
Adding COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF ALCOHOL to it. Preferably lemon flavoured rum.
I'll never forget something my mum-in-law said after drinking a version of this cocktail made by her brother - "I was just going to sit down but I ended up flat on my back and almost passed out". This, coming from a woman who can lift up a sack of rice and beat you up with it.
The other day, while visiting relatives on Shane's side of the family, we were always welcomed with sweets as we were still considered to be "newly married" and were visiting their homes for the first time. But the minute we got back to Shane's uncle's house, my mum-in-law called out to me, "Ankita, come drink this alcohol". I'm going to associate some of these comments made by her to this particular cocktail in the years to come.
10. Pickle - Double Horse Dates Pickle
I have loved this pickle from the time I was a broke student who couldn't afford to stash up on snacks. I loved it in combination with my flavorless hostel food, and I loved it when I literally snacked on it while hungry in between meals.
My love for this pickle was rekindled while I was in the UK because in a way, I was starving there - starving of good Malayalee food. So this month, from the time I got here, I've been getting my full of dates pickle and you won't believe how many food items it goes well with.
And that's it for this month. I hope you enjoyed this list and let me kniw if you found anything useful :)