Welcome to a new monthly blog piece called ‘Corinne’s Cuppa’ where I will share some of my favourite things from throughout the month! These will be absolutely anything from books, plants and food to music, ideas and art. I don’t know about you but I love hearing what other people are passionate about - and getting recommendations for things to try. I hope you enjoy reading these!
At the start of this month I travelled to Denmark to visit my friend. It was only a short trip - 4 days - but I had an amazing time exploring the area around Næstved and Copenhagen. Denmark is such a beautiful country best defined by golden fields and red bricks. The seaside at Karrebæksminde was wonderfully summery - I really enjoyed it since I hadn’t had a chance to go to the seaside in a while. We explored Faxe Quarry where all the rocks are made of fossilised coral - on our tour someone found a crocodile tooth! The castle of Gavnø housed the largest private art collection in Scandinavia. There was a series of portrait paintings of some of the most influencial thinkers, writers and politicians of the 1500s and 1600s. In Copenhagen my top three absolute favourites were Nyhavn, The National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) and Plant Food Power restaurant.
I’ve read quite a few books this August but I think my favourite read was Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. This incredible sequel to Homo Sapiens, explores the possibilities of the future of humanity with all of our technological advances, recent and future. Homo Deus investigates how the human ability to believe and create myths will interact with the possibilities of intelligent design, of which some are already in effect. It raises questions such as: How will life change when algorithms know us better than we do? How will religious beliefs evolve with new everyday realities? How will we keep ourselves occupied when computers take over the job market? For anyone who enjoys philosophy, anthropology or futurism this book is a must read!
This month Colin and I have been experimenting with our daily routine. We both crave routine to calm and manage our mental health. In order to grow as individuals, though, it is important that we play around and try different tasks and orders so that we can figure out what works best for us. The thing that I have loved to include in my morning routine for a few years now is some form of movement. I tend wake up around 6am (usually before my alarm even goes off, I guess its just my natural body clock) and the first thing I like to tick off my list is my movement - it’s not just for physical health, its for my mental wellbeing too. I used to run when I was in school and uni; most of this year I’ve practiced yoga. August has seen me attempt to start running again, put far too much pressure on myself, get overwhelmed, injure my knee and not do anything. So for the past couple of weeks, Colin and I have both gotten up and walked Buddy together before he needs to get ready for work. I have been loving it. I think for my overall health - mental and physical - I just need to do some form of gentle movement in the morning. And walking has the added benefits of Buddy being content for the day and myself getting some fresh air.
I don’t know about you but the summer heatwave was harsh for my family. Colin and I are far too Scottish for intense heat - which we define as anything over 20°C! Buddy was also struggling with the temperature due to his incredibly thick, mostly black, fur. By the end of July, I had had enough of being constantly warm so I ordered a tower fan from Homebase. OH MY GOD it was beautiful! The ability to cool down was a blessing and Buddy quickly learned to lie in front of it for best cooling results. It was nothing fancy or expensive but it saved our summer (and our sleep)!
After my trip to Denmark, I discovered Queen of the South on Netflix. It’s an American crime drama series starring Alice Braga in the lead role. Her character, Teresa Mendoza, must rely on her intelligence and sheer determination to survive after her drug cartel boyfriend is murdered and she is forced to flee Mexico to America. This series, based on a book of the same name, highlights the struggle between making ethically tough decisions to survive and retaining enough moral integrity to accept yourself. An incredible series, it is often brutal and graphic, but very addictive.
I have recently discovered that estate agents take fantastic pictures of houses to use as reference images for drawing. I have been enjoying drawing houses and buildings in my sketchbook of a morning. I like to keep the drawings very simple with a focus on lines to create texture. I start by using pencil to build up the shapes of squares and rectangles that make up most buildings. I don’t have completely straight freehand lines but I kind of like the almost story-book effect it gives the drawings.
A project which I discovered this month and absolutely love is ‘Sounds like Van Spirit.’ It is a collection of the best of Europe’s street musicians as recorded by German sound engineer Marten Berger. He started by converting a van into a mobile recording studio and then over the course of two years he travelled Europe to record the musicians he found along the way. The project has an album, a book and a movie as the finished pieces but there is a playlist on YouTube of some of the musicians which is incredible to listen to. Europe is such a comparatively small continent but the immense amount of diversity and unique talent which can be found is astounding.
‘Don’t Salt My Game’ is one of my absolute favourite podcasts to listen to. The podcast is hosted by Dr Laura Thomas (PhD), a registered nutritionist who specialises in Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size & Non-Diet Nutrition. Her podcast features interviews with a range of guests from authors to scientists to mental health advocates where they discuss honest realities and personal experiences. I’ve listened to her podcast almost everyday on my morning walks with Buddy for a few months and I’m still nowhere near caught up!
I have taken immense pleasure this month in watching the bees go about their business. While on walks I like to ‘spot the bee’ and can quite easily become distracted by following bees as they explore from flower to flower. In my garden, I have a little shelter which I think is actually meant to be a birdhouse but it has been taken over by some bees who like to rest in there during the day. Bees are so important for the health of our planet and being able to see them living and flourishing in all the wildflowers both in and out of my garden fills me with hope. They’re such hard workers and I hope they know that they are appreciated!
An app for my phone which I have discovered this August is called ‘Boosted’. It is essentially a kind of timesheet app which I find incredibly useful in keeping track of my work hours. There’s two things that I love about the design of this app. The first is that you can add different projects and different tasks within each project and then track the hours you spend just on that task. The second is that the app then takes all of the data from your recorded hours working on different projects and creates graphs and charts to help you visualise where your time is going. Maybe I’m just a nerd for things like this but it’s just really satisfying to see the proportions of work you’re doing in a pie chart or a graph of my week. It helps me to feel like I’m accomplishing something with my time and business - especially since a lot of my ‘work’ doesn’t actually feel like work because I enjoy doing it so much!