It’s been an age since I’ve written a favourites round-up! There are so many books, films, beauty products and podcasts I’ve fallen in love with during the past year, I felt a quick update was in order.
My beauty game hasn’t changed much since I wrote about my favourite cruelty beauty products last August – so here are a couple of my ‘beauty champions’.
- IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream. This is pricy but such a good base. I’ve been wearing it in lieu of foundation for months (it lasts ages so the price isn’t as eye-watering when you take its longevity into account). It’s a great colour, smooth, doesn’t go patchy or cake-y and builds really well for decent coverage.
- Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk lipstick. My go-to, daily lipstick. Another splurge but it’s taken a whole year to wear it right down to the base – the first lipstick I’ve ever used up! It’s a universally flattering shade and great for the ‘your lips but better’ look. I’d never been a fan of lipsticks, but the creamy, hydrating, long-lasting formula Charlotte Tilbury uses has won me over. Oh, and it smells delicious.
- Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton has been so universally lauded, there’s almost nothing new I can add to the conversation. I can only reiterate that it’s heart-wrenchingly honest, painfully relatable and beautifully written. Dolly is one of those rare writers who has mastered the art of head and heart: she’s acerbic and clever and witty but can make you fall in love or break your heart in seconds. You will laugh. You will cry. You will become a Dolly fan for life.
- How to Fail by Elizabeth Day. In a world where we seem to constantly strive for perfection, Elizabeth’s memoir is a refreshing – and much needed – change. She transparently catalogues her failures, like sports, families, marriage and babies, reminding us that failure is not what defines us. It teaches us. And it shapes who we are.
- Ice Cream for Breakfast by Laura Jane Williams. A sweet manifesto which advocates being more childlike and silly. And not being afraid to make life simpler and easier for yourself. For me, it was a reminder to value joy, honesty and compassion and actively seek those things out in my life. It was also the first book I ever took to with a pencil to underline my favourite bits.
- Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger. ‘One night, Ella found herself lying on her kitchen floor, wondering if she would ever get up – and it was the thought of a chicken, of roasting it, and of eating it, that got her to her feet and made her want to be alive.’ Midnight Chicken is part cookbook, part memoir; a list of the things worth living for. The delicious Sunday breakfasts, the dinners with friends, your favourite soup on a chilly evening. And I cannot wait to try her midnight chicken recipe.
- Heartburn by Nora Ephron. A sharp, intelligent fiction – inspired by the breakdown of Ephron’s own marriage. It’s about Rachel, a food writer, whose husband leaves her for another woman while she’s 7 months pregnant. In between wanting him dead and wanting him back, she shares some of her favourite recipes.
- The High Low. Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes have successfully made the world’s best news/pop-culture podcast. They genuinely feel like my (very informative, sophisticated and clever) friends. A new episode is easily one of the highlights of my Wednesday,
- Table Manners. Singer Jessie Ware and her mum, Lennie, cook dinner for a celebrity guest and pry into their lives. Chaos usually ensues but it’s great fun.
- Nothing Much Happens. A slow, relaxing bedtime story in which nothing much happens. I much prefer going to sleep with it on, and I’m out like a light within about 3 minutes now. I urge you to give it a go.
- How to Fail. The wonderful Elizabeth Day interviews well-known guests about their three biggest ‘failures’. I say ‘failures’ because this podcast is a celebration of things which go wrong. An homage to how your mistakes can shape you. A reminder that there’s a lesson in everything. It’s insightful, honest, funny and heartwarming – so I keep it for a midweek pick-me-up.
- Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster. Simply hilarious. A celebrity guest is invited to Ed and James’s ‘dream restaurant’ where they order their perfect meal. Even if that perfect meal includes: ‘that crumble my nan used to bake’. Warning: you will laugh out loud.
- Potterless. Mike Schubert has rekindled my fondness for Harry Potter (very seasonal, too!). Mike is an adult man reading the books for the first time, sharing his thoughts and feelings – alongside guests – as he goes.
Is it me, or has there been a lot of really great TV recently? Here are some new shows and a few old favourites which I just can’t get enough of:
- This Way Up
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
- Sex Education
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch
- Stranger Things
- The Good Place
- Queer Eye
- Gilmore girls
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
- Derry Girls
And a special mention for Katherine Ryan’s Glitter Room comedy special on Netflix.
- The sourdough pizza at Baffi. I’m really sorry if there’s no Baffi near you. A Franco Manca pizza is really almost as good!
- These crepes. I have to be more careful about what I eat now (that’s a story for another day) and these crepes are utterly delicious! Perfect for anyone who is gluten/dairy-free, but they also happen to be the best crepes I’ve ever tasted anyway!
- One-pot sausage gnocchi. I’m getting really into cooking now – what a change from the Nikki of two years ago. This is a weekly dinner for Kate and I (although we sub the kale for spinach).
- Oreo brownies from Coffee Saloon. SO good.
- Mary Poppins Returns is officially one of my favourite films after seeing it around Christmas last year. I expected it to be sweet and charming, but I certainly imagine it’d crack my top 10. But it has, because it’s clever, uplifting and beautiful. The acting is wonderful. And the songs are so very catchy.
- Paddington 2. Yep, I’m a big kid. Paddington 2 might be my favourite film ever. The script is so clever and funny. The cast is insane (I mean, Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Julie Walters, Brendan Gleeson). I still don’t understand how a CGI bear makes me cry every single time but somehow he manages it.
- The Intern. Melted my heart. But what did I expect from a film about senior citizen interns starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway?
There are so many more films I could include, but there’s a special movie-themed blog post coming in a few days … watch this space.