A Few of my Favourite Things: Winter Edition

IMG_9086Hello Blog Readers! I am back from my gallivanting around the globe – and my two weeks of adjusting back to ‘normal life’ are at a close, so here I am, filling up the blogosphere again! As it has been so long between posts it seems appropriate to do a quick summary of my favourite things right now – so here we go with A Few of My Favourite Things – the Winter Edition!

  1. Fave place to visit – Tuscany: Ah, Tuscany, I heart thee so much. I was there just under a month ago for a fantastic five days – despite the weather being slightly inclement for the first few days. This wasn’t my first trip – it was my fourth. Yep, I love Tuscany big time. Why? It is the best of Italy captured in one place, with beautiful countryside and villages everywhere you look. The food? Amazingly simple but brilliant. Normally I am a ‘let’s put all the weird things on the pizza’ girl, but in Italy? Hell no, simple is best. They achieve so much with simple, fresh ingredients. Love it. Also? Gelato. That is almost a fave thing on its own. But it’s not all about eating – the people are generally kind and friendly (unless behind the wheel of a car), and the culture is relaxed and easy. As my friend Sarah put it while we were there, ‘Slow eating and slow drinking is the key to life’. I think the Italians are all over that.
  2. Fave thing about travel: inflight entertainment: I cannot convey in words how much I hate long haul flights. My Dad always tells me off for using the word hate, but it isn’t even close to describing my feelings towards being stuck in a metal machine careening through the sky for close to 24 hours. But the one redeeming feature? Inflight entertainment. With the new tech they have, you can create a favourites list at the beginning of the flight, then work through them at your leisure. And I was stoked to find two TV shows that were on my list of ‘shows that won’t show on normal TV but I need to see ASAP’, on my flights. The first was The Affair – which I watched ten episodes of during one flight. It’s an intense and moody show about, obviously, an affair, but also so much more than that. Leads Dominic West and Ruth Wilson were simply brilliant, as were the supporting cast. Almost worth flying to Hong Kong for 😉 The second was a show I have been looking forward to for ages – the Duplass brothers’ HBO show Togetherness, starring Mark Duplass, Amanda Peet, and our own Melanie Lynskey. It is about a married couple in LA who end up playing host to two down on their luck friends, for way longer than they expected. It’s billed as a comedy, but is very dark at times, though also really relatable. Again, highly recommend (I think it is on Soho/Neon over here).
  3. Fave album – Hozier: I was captivated by Irish singer Hozier’s debut single ‘Take Me to Church’ the first time I heard it on the radio, and the entire album is a delight that I have been unable to remove from my high rotate list (yep, it has bumped off Taylor Swift’s 1989). Soulful, melodic, lyrically genius and surprisingly uplifting, it’s a great listen. He is coming to NZ later this year and I am locked in to see him – am sure he will be a great show if the album is anything to go on. Check it out, you won’t regret it.
  4. Fave online addiction – Netflix: See, I thought I was only going to get Netflix for the free first month, so I could binge watch the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Daredevil, but then I discovered the plethora of great TV shows and movies that I could also watch, and I got sucked in. So, out goes the Fatso subscription and I will replace it with Netflix (which is cheaper – so I am so being good with money ;-)). I already have a long list of shows and movies to watch – some old ones that I missed at the time (like Friday Night Lights) and other new ones which I am super excited about (like Daredevil which I am savouring ep by ep it is so good). And it’s great just being able to dial up whatever movie you feel in the mood for – like last night when I watched the excellent indie ‘My Sister’s Sister’ – with Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass, which I had been meaning to buy on DVD for ages and never did (see? Being good with money AGAIN!). Anyway, promo (unpaid I promise) for Netflix over, but if you haven’t checked it out, it’s worth a look.
  5. Fave thing about my trip: my mates: Lots of people have asked me what the highlight of my trip was, and it should be a tough call. I visited three countries (England, Germany and Italy), went to amazing restaurants, saw a great show (Book of Mormon – freaking genius), kicked some butt at Singstar and generally had an awesome time. But it isn’t hard to say what the highlight was – it was catching up with my mates. Thanks to living in London for five years, and thanks to the fact that Kiwis flock to London like tweens to a One Direction concert, I have heaps of fantastic friends – both Kiwi and otherwise – on that side of the globe, some of whom I haven’t seen in years and years. The sign of a good friendship is where you can pick up exactly where you left off, even if it was more than five years ago, and applying that test then I am insanely lucky to have so many fantastic friendships. It was awesome to see people’s new (and old) towns, houses and kids, but also to revisit the old stuff that we use to enjoy doing (like Singstar – I feel like I need to go to London and Germany to really meet my Singstar match, Kiwis – you need to up your game ;-)). So in a way the best thing about my trip was also the worst thing – I had to say goodbye again. When you are busy with your life you don’t dwell too often on how much you miss those people who aren’t around, but man you feel it when you see them, recharge your friend batteries, then have to say goodbye again. That sucks the biggest kumara ever. But, I would rather have that than not have these amazing people in my life. You guys know who you are, and you rock. Love ya.

And that’s it for this week! I am spending quite a bit of time at the movies right now – for you guys, obviously – so I will be back next week with some reviews. And wish me luck, I am taking not one but two eight year olds called Lola to a film this arvo. There could be carnage 😉

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