Welcome back to my Monthly Favourites series! It’s officially the second month of my ‘year out’… I honestly don’t know why I bother using this phrase as it doesn’t really feel like a year out at all! Although I am of course loving having the ability to dictate my own time.
April has involved a lot of stuff, from writing, sorting out property, and following up on freelancing opportunities, to my first Book Club meetup, taking out some time away from my family and catching up with friends, and celebrating my sister’s wedding! To my pleasant surprise, there were even a few days of sun this month, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s been incredibly busy though – and at times rather stressful – but naturally, there’s never a dull moment in the Quadir family.
April has been full of surprises and new experiences. Here are my highlights from this month… enjoy!
In concert: Jessie Ware
April started off on a high note with me getting to watch Jessie Ware live in Bournmouth. It was very much a last minute thing that I stumbled upon on Meetup and I’m so glad I went. I had a brilliant night, met new people and made new friends. Jessie Ware is simply fab live and I couldn’t recommend watching her in concert enough if you have the opportunity to do so in the future. I’ve been a fan since 2015 and was always slightly jealous of the fact that my friend Tom went to see her in London without me last year; so was really glad that I was able to go with a group who enjoy her music as much as I do.
Movie: Gone Baby Gone
It’s a challenge for me to get through any movie in one sitting (attention span = smaller than a goldfish), but I was in Oxford to visit my best friend earlier this month – just to simply relax and enjoy exploring Abingdon (where she lives), and we ended up staying up late as I have trouble sleeping before 3am (I know, my sleeping habits are terrible and I have no idea how to sort my body clock out!). Anyhoo, I ended up watching not one, but TWO, movies – yes, you read that right people – TWO MOVIES WITHOUT FALLING ASLEEP.
The first was Bad Moms at the request of my best friend which was a sort of chick flick thing, and the second was Gone Baby Gone, which I decided to watch after browsing Netflix for ages. It was under the ‘highly acclaimed’ tab, so I was like, eh, why not. Without going into too much detail, the film is about two detectives which investigate the kidnapping of a little girl. It’s full of twists and turns and challenges the viewer’s expectations continuously – which I enjoyed a lot. Whilst everyone around me fell asleep, I was glued to the screen. I’ve always been obsessed with detective dramas since the days I used to watch CSI: Crime Scene Investigation! If you have the time, I would highly recommend watching this movie!
Theatre: Titanic The Musical
I enjoyed watching this with my baby sister Jamila earlier this month at the Mayflower Theatre. I love the movie The Titanic – always have – and so was delighted to see that the musical was coming to Southampton. It’s not the Jack & Rose story on stage however – rather, the musical charts several different real stories of people that were on the ship. I thought the singing was absolutely fantastic, and just really enjoyed spending time with my baby sister, whom I love very much. ❤
After attending Jessie Ware’s concert, I realised that there was a lot of her music that I wasn’t familiar with, so for the most of April I’ve been making use of Spotify Premium enjoying all her albums: Devotion, Tough Love and Glasshouse. They’re all excellent and I would highly recommend them if you enjoy an eclectic mix of sophisticated-pop, electronica, contemporary R&B and soul.
An up and coming female contemporary R&B/soul artist, whose music I’ve enjoyed since the start of this year. I would highly recommend checking out her album About Time and her EP Confidently Lost. She’s released some new music this month feat. Khalid and I have a feeling she’s just going to continue getting more famous.
I discovered these guys last year whilst scrolling through some Instagram Stories of people I follow. I absolutely love their second album: I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It (a mouthful I know). They are an English rock band from Manchester, and recently won a Brit Award for Best British Group, so if you haven’t heard of them yet, I’m sure you will soon! Their style is a mixture of my favourites really – jazz, post-rock, R&B, soul, indie rock, and a bit of dance rock here and there. Top among my fave tracks are ‘She’s American’ and ‘If I Believe You’. I would give them a listen if you haven’t already – but I genuinely would recommend the album as a whole as every song is pretty great!
I’ve been listening to Trapsoul again this month – I love re-visiting and enjoying old albums again and again.
Modern Love: The Podcast
Still listening to this podcast. See my post here to find out exactly why you should start listening to them too: To Fall in Love, Do This…
My Sister’s Wedding
My baby sister got married yesterday! A lot of hard work and preparation went into it – but it all paid off in a beautiful marriage ceremony and wedding reception with a mix of Bengali, English, Muslim and Moroccan traditions. If you follow me on social, you’ll have seen me tagging lots of posts with #weddingweek and #WahidaWedsOussama.
Here are a few pics ❤
I went to visit my best friend for a weekend in Abingdon and damn, the weather was good to us! Would highly recommend taking visiting and taking a stroll if you haven’t been there before. I love weekend breaks away – it’s such a great way to relax and unwind when things seem to be getting too much.
Oat Milk Lattes
If I had to choose one thing this month that was my ultimate favourite thing, it would have to be my discovery of oat milk lattes at Cafe Nero during Coffee Week! I love it so! I won’t go into describing it otherwise I might seem a little crazy – but just try it, ok?!
Turns out there’s a Cake Box in Southampton now. For those of you not familiar with the franchise, it’s a cake store which simply deals with egg-free cakes – honestly they’re incredible. I met up with some friends earlier this month and we had lunch and then went for cake and coffee (literally my favourite activity). We picked up our slice of cake from Cake Box (based on East Street in Southampton) and then headed over to Coffee #1 to sit and have a good old catch-up!
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
I picked this up this month when I came across it in a charity shop – I’ve wanted to read it for a while as I’ve seen it all over Instagram. Rupi Kaur is probably one of the most famous Instapoets, and somewhat better than a lot of others – which are simply terrible. But after reading this, she’s not that much of a far stretch from them. Overall I enjoyed the structure of the poems (they form a story), but didn’t find the content or style as moving as I was led to believe. I guess she posts the better stuff on her Insta – but in general her poems were a bit hit and miss for me. I can only say that a handful were any good. After realising she’s only 22 – the style and content of her poetry made a lot more sense. Overall rating: 2.5/5 – wouldn’t really recommend – it’s not that memorable but if you’re looking for a short and easy read with a few insightful poems then go for it!
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Not sure this book deserves to be listed on my monthly favourites as it is definitely NOT a favourite. However, I hosted my first Book Club meetup in Southampton this month, and this was the book of choice – so it gets a mention, as my Book Club was among one of the highlights of this month for me. I was a bit nervous hosting it, as it’s a little bit out of my comfort zone, but I’m really glad I went ahead with it as I did have a massive urge to cancel it and just throw the metaphorical towel in the bin. Nonetheless, I faced my fears, anxiety and wotnot, and went ahead with it. And I’m so glad I did!
We met up at Cafe Nero (where else), and all discussed our mutual dislike for this book. It’s possibly the most random story ever (or what felt like an assortment of stories), and very difficult to read. Everyone overwhelmingly agreed that this book had a good premise, but was poorly executed, and overall a bit random and un-engaging. I’m not sure why this book has had so much hype around it to be honest (this is why I chose it actually), but have a feeling it’s to do with the fact that it has women at it’s centre, and as this is in trend at the moment, with all the hype around dystopia, feminism and Margaret Atwood, the book has done well. I’m curious to know why Obama thought it was good enough to recommend as one of his books to read last year (check out his Facebook page for his other recommendations). It was extremely difficult for me to get through and I found it lacked any sort of emotional punch as a story. The author falls into one of the worst traps of writing – instead of showing what is happening, she simply tells it. Thanks to Penguin for the review copy however. Rating 2.5/5
Spotlight on articles
As well as books, I read a lot of articles online. I’m sure by now you’ll have realised that I have a keen interest in issues regarding the social agenda. Here are some of my favourites this month:
- The dark side of Dubai – I read this article over 5 years ago but still come back to it from time to time when discussing Dubai. The talented journalism and content of this article never fails to astound me.
Haven’t had much time to write this month unfortunately – but there are a number of posts in the pipeline so May should be full of some exciting new content!
In celebration of Coffee Week this month however, I wrote the following post:
I’m looking forward to Ramadan starting in May and what the summer holds ❤
What have you enjoyed this month? I would love to know!