Sunday, January 10, 2016

My Favourite Things

Hey! Long time, no blog. 

I thought I'd ease back into things by talking about some of my favourite things from 2015. Some of these I'm going to talk about in more detail in other posts, but I wanted to write a little about the things that kept me going this last year. 

Favourite TV show

You all know my favourite show is Mad Men, probably my favourite show ever (which is really saying something). The back end of season 7 was wonderful and made me feel really good about saying goodbye to a show that has been a great comfort to me since I first starting watching it in 2008. 

But as great as it was, Mad Men was not the best television I watched this year. That honour has to go to the criminally underrated The Americans and its third season.  

For those who don't know the premise, The Americans is the story of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, Russian spies working deep undercover in the States in the early 80s. Running complex missions while pretending to be travel agents and actually being parents to two children is nothing less than complicated, made trickier by their living across the street from an FBI agent who works in counter intelligence. 

The writing on this show is deft and subtle, the acting some of the best on display right now, and the production slick and clean. I highly recommend getting your hands on season 1, if you're like me, you won't be able to stop watching. My only real regret with this show is that I kind of wish the 80s clothes were more flashy and fun, but then I like it kitschy.

Favourite experience

A few years ago I wrote to the Sydney Writers' Festival and begged them to get Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman out to Australia. In 2015, the powerhouse couple of publishing made it out to Sydney and Melbourne to give joint presentations (read: chats in front of an audience and then answer questions) as part of each city's respective writing festival. 

Did someone read my letter and think maybe it was a good idea? I don't know, but I do know that the evening was marvellous and I want to write more about it in a separate post. 

Favourite purchase

This beautiful print by Angela Stasio at The Paper Apartment on etsy. I'd link to her shop but she seems to have closed down,  at least for now. Meanwhile this gorgeous picture has pride of place on my wall. 

Favourite beauty product

I bought some seriously good makeup this year, most of it from Too Faced. But my fave beauty purchase was the Nars Audacious lipstick in Natalie, a truly unusual but very flattering shade of pink.

I've bought this product in other shades and it's a fantastic formula, I will continue to re-purchase.

Favourite meal

The morning after spending all night on a train to Melbourne I visited Fandango in North Melbourne for the fourth time and it was even better than I remembered. Here's what I had:

Pesto scrambled eggs with bacon, and yes, it was every bit as good as it sounds. This cafe is one of the best places to eat I have ever found, love it to bits. 

Favourite record

I couldn't decide between two records for this, so you get them both.

In May 2013 I went to a Something for Kate concert in Canberra with my favourite gig buddies. The support act was an unknown quantity, a very young looking girl with a guitar that dwarfed her and an attitude that rolled off the stage into the eager crowd. My friend, being the music aficionado that he is, immediately purchased the young singer's EP. As we went home that night we excitedly discussed the support act who had blown everyone away. 

Two years later and everyone knows who Barnett is now. For my money she is a storyteller in the same vein as Paul Kelly or Paul Dempsey (the singer of the band she supported on that tour). She's not to everyone's taste, but she doesn't need to be. The fans she has are plenty.

The last few years have seen some seriously great R & B artists hit the charts, the latest of which is this twenty something from Canada. The Weeknd, or Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, released his sophomore record, Beauty Behind The Madness, in 2015 and immediately I latched onto it. It's his voice, it's his forlorn, pleading falsetto, that draws you in. It's the type of record you need to spin a few times to really get into, but boy, does it pay off. He has the magic, that's all I can say.

So there you go, these are the things that helped me along the way last year. What were your favourite things of 2015?


  1. This was fantastic, you have sold me on all these. You should be a professional reviewer!

  2. What lovely favs! I look forward to hearing about your writers fest experience!

  3. Long live Mad Men!!!
    I want to go to there and eat that wonderful meal!


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