Backyard Picnic & What I’m Reading in Quarantine

Backyard Picnic & What I’m Reading in Quarantine

You may know that I am currently moving into a new apartment in downtown Washington D.C. (during a pandemic, truly I have the best timing ever). Since I returned to the United States last summer, I’ve been living with my family in Alexandria to save money. Since the beginning of March, we’ve been home together, cooking and baking, doing movie nights and Zoom cocktail parties with friends. This weekend I’m trading suburbs for city and though there’s lots to love about my new place, sadly there’s no back garden. This meant a last hurrah picnic was in order, so over Easter I got all ginghamed up in this darling Reformation dress with a handy bottle of rosé to sit in the sun and read some books. The two things that have most helped me get through quarantine have been reading and getting outside as much as possible to appreciate nature through (socially distant) walks, runs and rambles about the garden. I thought it would be lovely to share my staying at home reading list with you all.

Seasons by Stories- The Spring Edition 2020

I was so happy to get my hands on this publication. It’s a beautifully curated and written magazine by the minds behind Stories Studio. I’ve had the pleasure of following the creative agency since its early days, when founders Melissa Harris and Emily Cox were still based out of Ibiza. They bring magic to everything they do, from branding to websites and now a quarterly seasonal publication which looks lovely on my bedside table. My favorite features were their lush Barcelona guide (I know where I’m going as soon as the travel ban is lifted) and the interviews with small business founders. The next issue comes out in June for summer and I’m telling you now, this is not a read to miss!

If We Were Villains by M L Rio

Reading has always been a bit of escapism for me and few books sucked me in like this one. Set in a prestigious arts college in Illinois, it follows the intrigues and relationships of 7 senior drama students performing Shakespeare. On opening night, mystery and violence spills out from the stage into their real lives. Though I am by no means a Shakespeare geek or even know that much about theatre at all, I still found it a really fun and engaging read. I love a mystery and this one was woven with captivating descriptions and a pace that had me hooked.

All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown Presented by The Moth

If you haven’t heard of the The Moth, you should absolutely listen to its podcast. Storytellers are invited to perform true stories from their lives, and the open, beautiful honesty of it is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. This book, and others presented by The Moth, are all transcribed from those live performances. During a time of great uncertainty, the vulnerability of each storyteller reminded me that we are more alike than we are different. I found this one was perfect to read a few short stories at a time and is an especially a good option if you want to read something that is not going to keep you awake until the wee hours of the morning.

The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters by Nancy Schoenberger and Sam Kashner

I’ve been trying to get more into non-fiction, and I find that memoirs, biographies and essays are the most interesting for me. This biography is about Jackie Kennedy Onasiss and Lee Radziwell, the sisters who in turn became first lady of one of America’s most famous Presidents and the other a Princess, socialite, PR executive and interior designer. As someone with two sisters and a deep love for fashion and mid century American popular culture, it was an in-depth and fascinating read.

Women in Clothes Edited by Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton, and Sheila Heti

This lush collection is a must for anyone with an abiding interest in fashion and culture. It contains essays, interviews, art, poetry, and photography all about the relationship between femininity, identity and clothing. It’s a very intelligent book, I even used parts of it in my undergraduate dissertation. It can be quite a dense read since there are so many topics covered, so I find it’s one to pick up and put down. The other day I spent an hour flipping through its pages.

The Martian by Andy Weir

When things on earth feel topsy-turvy, sometimes it’s best to head to another planet entirely. The combination of science-fiction/surviving on Mars and the sarcastic gallows humor is both escapist and cathartic. Also the film is great so you can do two for two.  

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The current book on my nightstand, I absolutely fell head over heels for the film remake of this novel in January. I re-watched it again with my mum and sister last weekend and the love affair is still strong. I’ve decided to crack open the book and remember the words that started it all.

BLOGS

My favorite go to when I’m in the mood to read, but don’t have much time on my hands. From think pieces to reviews of cozy loungewear sets to a new recipe to a ‘virtual’ travel guide, these are my favorites.

This Time Tomorrow by Krystal Bick – filled with swoonworthy fashion and travel, Krystal has been making the most of her NYC rooftop in quarantine to shoot spectacular content. Her visual storytelling is second to none.

Beth Sandland – Beth is a globe trotting Londonner and if you are looking for things to do at home during isolation, she is the queen of good ideas. Reading Beth’s posts feels like having a cuppa and a catch up with a friend and she’s one of the most authentic bloggers I follow. She also has excellent taste in books, as I attest here.

Mossonyi – run by blogger/photographer Onyi Moss, she creates visual magic that will transport you across the globe. Whether on Instagram or through her blog, her content always gives me inspiration.

The Broke Generation– Emma is one of my favorite people to read for her funny, no-nonsense advice and essays on spending, money and finance. Right now she’s providing some really helpful resources for anyone struggling with the recent economic downturn (and plenty of humor too). Did I mention she’s based out of Australia– how cool is that!

The Noteworthy by Nicole Ocran- one of the loveliest humans, Nicole writes about all things fashion, beauty and lifestyle from London. I especially love that she’s so vocal about mindfulness, social issues, culture and keeping informed. As a fellow American who dreams of being on that side of the pond again, her account fills me with joy.

Chelsea As Of Late– If you want a bit of infectious joy in your life, Chelsea is a delight. Her content is creative, quirky and always, always fun. She shares her natural hair journey, travels, fashion forays and creative tips/how-to’s.

Pretty Little Fawn by Courtney Halverston- think warm neutrals and style that is both modern and vintage. This LA based actress creates beautiful photography and day-in-the-life snippets that sooth the soul. As someone very new to decor, I’m constantly reading her home/interiors posts.

Hope you enjoyed these recommendations, if you are keen to join an online book club, read my review here.

Xx

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