February Spotlight

From why art matters, to the Tinder swindler, D&D nerds and some much needed self-care habits. Here are our tips on what to do, read, watch, and listen from the month that passed.

February, is usually an anonymous month for many of us. A month that at least here in the Nordic hemisphere can be cold, wet and have us longing for spring. However, I have started to view February as the month when you can breathe a little easier. Take a step back from all those new years resolutions, challenges and busy start on the new year. 


 Art Matters by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell

 Art Matters by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell

A collection from some of Gaiman's speeches, poems and creative manifestos, Art Matters, has become one of my favorite books to pick up when I need a little inspiration. It is a really powerful book which demonstrates how reading, imagining and creating can change our lives and the world. It also comes with some really great illustrations by one of my favorite artists, Chris Riddell. 

"The world alway seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before" - Neil Gaiman

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (audiobook edition)

Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist and sleep expert, explores sleep, how it affects every aspect of our well-being. The book takes a closer look on how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood and energy levels, regulate hormones and so much more. I am currently listening to it on Audible, narrated by John Sackville, and finding it to be such an interesting book. As someone who does struggle with sleep several times a year, this has also made me understand my own body and mind better, why sleep is so important. 


The Legend of Vox Machina (Prime)

It is finally here! Our crazy crew made it to the screen. The series set in Exandria, the fictional world created by Matthew Mercer for his personal dnd campaign with his voice actor friends, that then was launched as a live stream on Twitch and Youtube as Critical Role, and now, finally to the "big" screen as an animated fantasy series. 

The series follows the band of misfits, Vox Machina, trying to pay off a mounting bar tab, who end up on a quest to save the realm from some dark, magical forces. If you have followed the campaign on Twitch or Youtube, the first season follows the Briarwood arch. 

The Tinder Swindler (Netflix)

One little swipe and you can change your life. Notoriously known as The Tinder Swindler, Simon Leviev, he has seduced and swindled young women for millions and is a fugitive from justice in several countries. One swipe could change your life. This is the ultimate fairytale gone nightmare. Follow three women who decided it was time for payback.


The Friendship Onion (Spotify)

While I wait for the new Lord of the Rings series to come to Prime (september 2022 people!), I sometimes join two of my favorite Hobbits as they take a trip down memory lane with friends and co-stars from their time on The Lord of the Rings. It is really fun to discover things from the movies, their friendships and get answers on so many questions.

Other podcasts I've been listening to this month: 

Le Monde diplomatique - English edition

Unruly Figures

Self-care and mental health 

February became the month where I took a step back, focused on winding down after a fairly busy January and finishing my minimalism challenge. How did that go? Out of the 30 days, I missed five days. However, I have successfully decluttered more or less 500 objects from my life. Now, it is not like I only got rid of big things as old furniture or clothes, it also includes smaller things like pens, old makeup I no longer use or like.

When I started I was pretty sure that the first few days would be easy and that the hard days would come when we reached day 12 and above. To my shock I came as far as day 25 before things started to become harder. I just could not believe I had so much stuff, I never used, liked or that was just sitting somewhere in my flat taking up space. 

Decluttering became like a game, going through every little thing in my life and thinking: do I actually need it? Will I even miss it? I stored everything that was not going straight to the trash in two large boxes. My rule was, if I did not miss the item for two weeks, it would have to go. Either sold, traded with friends or given to a charity. 

It turned out to be a really fun and good experience. My flat and life, cheesy I know, feels lighter in a way. I have a very slim wardrobe now, but its filled with clothes I like, that I wear often and more importantly: they fit. Gone are all the clothes that I had there as, maybe one day I will use/fit in it. My apartment feels more spacious and its easier to clean as I don't have things claiming space. 

I am far from being a minimalist, but I have a new mentality around things coming into my life now. Most of the time, I ask myself; I am actually going to use it? Do I have space for it? Is there something I am not using that could go before I make this purchase? Shortly, there is more intention behind every purchase than there was before. So to sum it up: this was a really great start for 2022!

High value experiences. 

I came across A Small Wardrobe talking about how to live luxuriously on a budget, how to bring some luxury into your life and having some experiences that are high value experiences. And it got me thinking, that I often have denied myself different things because they are too expensive or because its not a "special occasion". 

It does not have to be something that costs much. It could either be investing in a wardrobe that has clothes of good quality, that fit you and that you like and will last longer. It could be a date with yourself on a gallery show or a museum, cooking yourself a really nice meal. Or it could be deciding to give yourself a spa day. Anything that gives you a good feeling of life. 

This blog post was written by Gabriela Saez. You can follow her reviews on Instagram @bookstrider


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