Audiobooks of 2020 - Part one

Monday 15 February 2021

No comments

Book shelf with a cup of tea

My love for audiobooks in 2019 carried through 2020 and is now a steady part of my morning routine. 

I say steady because I wish I had the capacity for a set morning routine but I don't - I just know that better days start for me with an audiobook. When not working from home I adore audiobooks on the walk to work but for the past year they accompany me in different ways. 

From long baths, long walks and endless hours staring into space listening, hooked on those final chapters, I really recommend audiobooks - especially if you need a hand getting a little lost in your own brain. 

Audible cover of disobedience by naomi alderman featuring two women nearly kissing

Disobedience by Naomi Alderman 

My first listen of 2020 was Naomi Alderman's Disobedience, beautifully narrated by Rachel Atkins. After loving Alderman's The Power I knew this novel fell into a completely different genre but I wanted to experience more of her writing. 

Disobedience follows Ronit, returning back to London from the states for the first time in 15 years after hearing her father, a famous rabbi has passed away. Ronit returns, more confused by the community than imagined as we see her unique past resurfaced alongside her friend Esti. Driving exploration of faith and sexuality within London's Orthodox Jewish Community.  

I of course then had to go watch the film adaptation as soon as I had finished listening - which I highly recommend too. 

Cover of hidden bodies audiobook featuring actors from the netflix show you

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes 

A sequel to now Netflix famous series You, Hidden Bodies follows Joe as he moves to LA to start over and forget everything he left behind in New York. But as he finds himself working in another trendy bookstore he cannot help but get fixated on another. 

Narrated by Santino Fontana who earily sounds just like Penn Bagley who plays Joe in the show, I was yet again in a place (thanks to Caroline Kepnes skillful writing) where I agreed with and thought a psychopath was hot. 

matt haigs reasons to stay alive audiobook

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig 

Next up I listened to Matt Haig's Reasons to Stay Alive. As someone suffers with mental illness I have definitely lost count of how many times people have told me to read or listen to this book, so I did. 

I wasn't a massive fan of this book but I am glad I listened to it because now I can tell people to fuck off when they tell me to read it. I'm not going to rant with why I disliked the book, it has helped others and that is what matters.

My favourite part of the book was when people wrote in with their reasons to stay alive. Life in the little moments is what keeps me here. 

emilie pines notes to self audiobook

Notes to Self by Emilie Pine 

This collection of essays has stayed with me. From the harsh realities of addiction to fertility, Emilie intimately bringing the most complex areas of life to the forefront, the happiness that outweighs the pain, and the traumas that make us who we are. 

Everyone should read or listen to this collection. 

beedle the bard audiobook

Tales of Beedle the bard by J.K Rowling 

The wizarding world has fully been separated in my head from JK here, for a quick hour and a half I was whisked away with stories that I have known since my childhood but never really understood. 

The perfect accompaniment to a cleaning session, long drive or walk. Recognising voices and learning the stories and lessons other characters held on to. 

ill be gone in the dark audiobook

I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara 

How did I go so long without reading this book? 

A passionate true crime account of the Golden State Killer, Michelle McNamara's pulls you into American history and drives an unsettling pursuit for the truth for over three decades. 

I'll come at you with part two soon - I clearly LOVED an audiobook in 2020. 

Read More

Favourite albums of 2020

Thursday 14 January 2021

No comments

I was RUBBISH at listening to new music in 2020, truly rubbish. But what I did listen to I loved. 

Did you ask for this blog post? Nope! Do you care about my favourite albums? Probably not. Has it been years since I wrote about music? 100%.

But as this is my little corner of the internet, and I am fully throwing myself into 2021 with much more intent to embrace new music so with this, I am sharing my favourite albums of the last year, but what did I miss, let me know in the comments.

Touché Amoré - Lament

Each aching word in Lament sits with me, an album contrasting in these powerful lyrics and drums that sit in my chest with incredible sounds underpinned by fleeting moments. Lament filled me with the same all-consuming hell of my own mind that I felt reading The Bell Jar. 

Wherever I sat - on the deck of a shop or at a street cafe in Paris or Bangkok - I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air. 

Lifted from this suffocating sense with these rising punches of life and light, Lament is beautiful.

Svalbard - When I Die, Will I Get Better? 

When I say this album is lit, I don’t mean it in the trendy way that I cannot get away with saying. I mean it like there is this slow-burning angst, a rawness that didn’t sit within It’s Hard to Have Hope. 

When I Die, Will I Get Better? Feels like it comes from the Open Wound of the title track, you’ve got to stay angry but there is an openness, a darkness as if this album is a gift because it feels so personal to listen to. 

Basically - IT FUCKING SLAPS, go listen. 

Gleemer - Down Through

Get lost in all the shoegazey dream vibes with all the emotional lyrics you can hold on to in Down Through. The album has this close authenticity to it, packing intense perception as if you could be in the room with them. 

Listen to it and someone stock it in the UK plz. 

Palm Reader - Sleepless

Hitting hardcore heritage and driving it into exquisite layers of depth, ambience and wilding riffs - Sleepless is a passion project.

It is clear every moment and feeling has been thought about, tracks of texture expanding into vast space whilst curated into form with Mckeown’s lyrics an inspiration to put pen to paper.

It is so easy to skip to known or favourite tracks when listening digitally - do not skip on Sleepless, embrace the album in its entirety. 

For fans of pushing your creativity to the next level. 

Spanish Love Songs - Brave Faces Everyone

The last gig before rona lockdowns, we saw Spanish Love Songs supporting The Menzingers the day Brave Faces Everyone was released.

I really bloody miss singing along in a crowded room with an overpriced pint.

From its repeat plays on release day to today, Brave Faces Everyone has become an escape, finding space in my brain by plugging into it for what 40 mins? You know, to remember what you are thinking about isn’t silly or strange - it’s human.

This is the honesty in every day and that you are not the only one in it. It’s singing your little heart out to lyrics that resonate and rising tracks that sweep you into every upbeat miserable moment. 

Hot Mulligan - You’ll Be Fine

There might be an upbeat miserables theme to 2020 and You’ll Be Fine is an album that is 100% within that. Clinging on to raspy emotional moments and sing-along concerts in my car. 

Caspian - On Circles

THIS ALBUM. I don’t know if I have the words. On Circles grounds me. 

I have no idea what these guys do to music, but I just find myself so within myself whilst listening to them. 

Throwback to having a panic attack whilst they played Sycamore at ArcTanGent festival.

So perfectly crafted, I reach for On Circles in moments of anxiety, calm, creativity and happiness. The album roots itself, so visceral and natural that it feels effortless in its growth. On Circles swelling into this immersive experience that transcends time and trends. 

In all that has happened in 2020, music has took an absolute hit, if you can buy an album, a t-shirt or support their social media, enjoy streams then please do. 

Creativity is essential. Where would be without music? 
Read More

Setting intentions for 2021

Sunday 3 January 2021

1 comment

Recently I reflected on everything I set myself in 2020, and although it was not the year we were all expecting, if I selfishly just look at my own life, I am in a much better space. 

I often think the Amber of 2018 was a completely different person, but I am so proud of how far I have come. 2020 was the year I learned to respect my own boundaries more and as I look back I see growth, strength and positivity. So I am setting intent, not resolutions...

1. Use my energy better, create and write more.

Last night I deleted my dating apps and have come to the swift conclusion I can use that energy in a better way, and if I happen to meet someone then well, that's just swell. 2021 is all about writing for me, focusing my energy in a productive way and I cannot wait to see the outcome. 

2. Continue to work my butt off 

I know I say it enough, but I love my job and cannot wait to throw myself into 2021 to create even more magic. 

3. Write at least one post a month 

This just went tits up last year. So who knows, but I have set this intention for myself and it can only lead to determination. 

4. Move my body more 

I currently have two PT sessions with the incredible Aimee Browes at The Happiness Bootcamp a week but this also comes with amazing classes that I am not as consistent with.

Getting moving helps and I need to remember to do it more.

5. Sleep better 

Last year I set this as I wanted to wake up earlier, but that can only happen if I get any sleep at all. I've said it before that my mental health dictates my sleep pattern and as I continue to put it at the forefront and make it a priority things are slightly improving. 

6. Stop being so self-critical 

Does anyone set bizarre high standards for themselves then beat themselves up about it? NO ONE ELSE KNOWS AMBER SO STOP FRETTING.

7. .Read 30 books

My trilogy-ish for 2021 is The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and I really want to make a dent in my unread bookshelves. 

8. Diversify reading and more non-fiction

We can only better ourselves, and I want to continue to push this with my reading. So any recs hit me up. 

9. Craft more

I have fallen in love with cross-stitch this year thanks to Innocent Bones' incredible kits, they help clear my fuzzy brain and create something beautiful.

10. Treat yourself 

When possible I have realised how much paying my incredibly talented pals to do my hair and nails is making me feel so much better! Never thought I deserved to treat myself and I cannot explain how bloody  lovely it is! Gels done by the talented Gels by Ginge and my beautifully razored hair is by Hand Over Fist Hair 💛

How are you focusing your energy this year? Let me know x

Read More