One aim I have for this year is to be better at sharing things and so I’m aiming to use this site for building a compendium of recommendations. Prior to now I’d used sporadic WhatsApp/FB messages with friends and loved ones to share things in a manner inarguably sloppy, sporadic and somewhat difficult to process. For a long time I’d thought about properly sorting things into emails however I’m actually the worst at this so moving forward, I’m going to try and write these posts and then there’s easy hyperlinks too!
Without further ado, some recent things that are worthwhile sharing:
- To start, this undeniably enjoyable street art from our new city located on the South Mall, Parnell Place. Not sure of the connection Alf Stewart has with Cork but holy cow, anything that immortalises one of my favourite ‘Strayan ockerisms is a bloody winner. Here’s a fun response from the icon himself, too! On the whole, the Cork streets are home to mesmerising art pieces with the standout for me the Irish historical figures located on Kyle Street.
- The first book I’ve read in 2020 is the much-acclaimed Michelle Obama memoir Becoming*. I’d heard that Becoming was genuinely extraordinary writing however I was completely unprepared for how engrossing the narrative structure is and how effectively the key motifs around education, economics, structural segregation, community, rhetoric and policy is communicated. I can’t recommend this highly enough, not least with regard to relevance around how subsequent USA administrations are managing civic issues both on a federal and international level. Also, an additional comment that Obama’s expertise is formidable – prior to reading this memoir, my understanding of her experience was limited to her work in law – with her work post-FLOTUS a continued pursuit of essential social change that shows genuine leadership.
- Sincere thanks to my rad brother-in-law Andrew for alerting me to this interview with Andrew Scott, Irish actor extraordinaire, on the famed podcast How To Fail with Elizabeth Day. This episode is a stand-out and kicks off a new season of How To Fail, with this conversation with this hallowed actor an all-round treat and I’ll also take the opportunity to highlight a slightly different interview here with some of his lesser-known fans, too… A stat that’s additionally worth sharing: Scott’s cult character on Fleabag Season 2 has spiked sales in Marks & Spencer canned G&T.
- I genuinely love grocery shopping and when I’m somewhere new, supermarkets and chemists/pharmacies are my ideal place for an excursion, especially when this involves sourcing snacks, etc.: enter, Deliciously Ella Salted Caramel Cups. These are a winner, albeit a treat in every sense of the word as they are a bit ‘spenny. More generally, we are actively acquainting ourselves with supermarkets in Ireland (so far our favourite is Dunnes Stores, in particular the Bishopstown location where Simon picked up a cashmere beanie from!!!) and subsequently getting amongst brands and treats not available in Australia. Last night we tried the infamous Salted Caramel Cups. Needless to say I’m thinking about them right now and they were an outstanding pre-dinner-walking-home-from-Tesco snack. Honourable mention here to this local brand, Cali Cali Foods, for their chipotle hot sauce as well – more of a salsa-y relish than a hot sauce and deliciously smoky, too – we’ve been enjoying this with loads of meals!
Finally, our hearts are heavy with the bushfires and national emergency happening in Australia. This crisis keeps evolving and we are trying to stay informed with regards to how we can all be responsive on a community support level as well as mobilise as citizens. One component is ensuring that all of our voices are heard so that action is taken on localised and national fronts for both recovery and structural changes plus funding to environmental and preventative policies are made. In terms of the scope of damage and the extent of the fires, this photo essay here puts into perspective that this crisis did not happen in the space of days – ordinary people, emergency services and journalists have been engaged with this for months now.
*One last note, my preferred place to buy secondhand books online is Better World Books. Not only is their selection stellar, they donate to world literacy programs plus they donate books, and their work saves books from becoming landfill (they reuse, repurpose and recycle). I will note that books can take a little while to arrive however it’s worth it – check them out!