Beauty & Baggage

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

MIXTAPE | October

Image source

This October, I'm enjoying listening to some electro, bassy rap and ethereal women. The Seed (2.0) by The Roots is a perfect entrance-making song, but I'd start with Manhattan by Cat Power, one of my favourite artists, to ease you into that autumn feeling. You can also open the playlist online here.

Ignore the Spotify username, it's a throwback from my Van Halen obsessed days.
What will you be hitting repeat on this month?
S xx

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

DIY | Gin & Tonic Scented Sugar Body Scrub


 I know what you're thinking - who wants to smell like alcohol? Don't worry - this sugar scrub doesn't use actual gin in the scrub - just the scent of juniperberries, which gin is made from. You won't smell like a pub at all. This idea came to me when I was thinking about what scents I'd want in a scrub - a gin and tonic is my favourite drink, so it seemed natural to use it as inspiration here. See how I made it below.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Recommended Reads #2

So, a while ago, I had an idea for a new series to run on the blog - every Friday, I could feature two books that are great companion reads. A sort of, 'if you liked that, read this!' sort of thing. Or, these two novels work great read side by side. And down in the comments, you could all recommend reads that you think go well with either of the novels featured. 
You can read the first installment here.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is something of an epic novel, tracing the story of a family of American missionaries stationed in the Congo from 1959. Nathan Price, his wife and four daughters arrive in the Congo at a time of incredible upheaval, and the novel follows the women from each of their perspectives as they witness and are part of the unfolding history of the country. A heartbreaking, observant and poignant novel focusing on the breaking and remaking of a family and country - the former part of the group of oppressors, the latter the oppressed - The Poisonwood Bible weaves narratives deftly and uses the stories of the different women of the family to comment on and witness secondhand life in the Congo in the later half of the 20th century.

The most recent Faber & Faber edition is here for £6.42; and this is a really pretty edition by HaperCollins for £9.52.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a renowned classic. Two stories, set in Nigeria, both tell the story of men named Okonkwo. The first story is a fable tracing Okonkwo's downfall within his tribe. The second is set more recently and tells the story of Okonkwo's clash with European missionaries and the destruction of his known world. A beautifully rendered and thought-provoking study of the nature of mankind, Achebe's most well-known novel is often paired with Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, but I feel The Poisonwood Bible works equally well.

There is a nice edition by Bantam Doubleday Deli here for £5.38.

These books, while set in entirely different African countries, both have similarities in terms of their use of multiple narratives and timelines. Both deal with the destruction of African nations at the hands of European missionaries and the consequences of the actions of those missionaries. I think they work well as a pair because each shows these events from differing perspectives - one from the perspectives of American missionaries who are often misguided, racist and ignorant (although occasionally, depending on narrator, cognizant of the harm they cause) the other from the less commonly heard perspective of the African citizen. Achebe's is the novel to read first, I think, and is a well-deserved classic. The Poisonwood Bible is worth reading for the feminist issues it also endeavours to explore, and the ways in which it similarly highlights bigotry, brutality and the long-term effects of colonialism through the lens of colonial oppresion.

Have you read either book? Do you have a different opinion or other recommendations for what to read in tandem? I'd love to hear them! All opinions are welcome in the comments.

S xx