April 7th, 2017

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April 7th, 2017

Hi. Did you miss me? I have been away. Travelling abroad. I love the expression “travelling abroad”. It makes me think of standing on the bow of an ocean liner with the salty wind whipping through my hair as I spy foreign lands on the horizon. I visualise leather travelling trunks and steam whistles, promenades on the deck, discovering new cultures and drinking exotic cocktails. I don’t actually use the expression out loud, because even I can see that would extremely irritating, especially to a security officer: “And where are you travelling?” … “Abroad, good sir!”… “uh huh, step this way, we need to search you and your ostentatious leather travelling trunk.”

The expression also does not really match the reality of being squashed into economy class for 14 hours with a huge number of slightly anxious, uncomfortable, farty strangers. Bad food, restless legs, crying babies… those tiny little bathrooms with their flushing systems that scare the bejeezus out of me. I am slowly mastering the art of sipping coffee in high turbulence. I close my eyes and try to imagine that in fact I am “travelling abroad”, sipping my coffee from a canteen on the back of a traversing camel in some beautiful sunset-riddled desert. If a small child beside me says “Mum! I’m going to puke!” I try to ignore it as long as possible and then, eyes still closed, I artfully hand her a paper vomit-bag, imagining I am handing a map to my handsome travelling companion.  But it’s all a means to an end, and for us the end was Sydney, Australia. Beautiful Sydney, it does not disappoint. Even when the locals are complaining about terrible weather – they seem to forget that “terrible” is still warm enough to be trundling around town in a t-shirt and a smile. “Tropical!” I kept saying, even when the wind blew my umbrella inside out and the rain drenched me right before I had to turn up looking slick for a meeting.

We stayed right in the middle of the city, surrounded by towering apartment buildings, office blocks and weekday coffee shops which serve long blacks and flat whites (home!). The streets were dense and busy, but even there, where the sounds of construction and traffic are 24-7, the sparkly calls of parakeets and currawongs remind us that, yes, “tropical!”

But now, home again… or I should say, “other home” again. It’s a little grey and grim here, but at least there are daffodils and owls, if not cocktails and kookaburras.  And I am back to send you a weekly dose of Small Batch. I think there is something for everyone here:

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1. I love this list of travelling tips. I simply googled “how to travel well” and got this as a result. It makes me want to go out and feed my wanderlust a little more. And (omg) how to avoid bald spots when travelling with friends. Who knew? Angry-sleep hair-yanking? That’s a thing?? That sounds like enough to make me need to stay at home and watch Netflix for the next 40 years.

2. I am quite smitten with the work of Mark Hearld (above). He is a print-maker, textile designer, painter and illustrator. This video shows his work, his process, his inspiration and collections and his massive talent. Now I want to learn how to make lithographs.  Via Michael S. Wertz’s always good newsletter, Wertzeen

3. Oh hello Alt-J … I’ve been waiting for you, hoping you’d come back to visit soon. Here’s In Cold Blood and 3WW.

4. And there’s this: Gorillaz’ new track Saturnz Barz (Spirit House) is fun to listen to and the video is fun to watch. (via Laura Gluhanich on A Song a Day.)

5. This TED Talk is wonderful.
“To those who feel like they don’t belong: there is beauty in being a misfit.” Lidia Yuknavitch, author and teacher, shares her own story of creativity, loss, shame and self-acceptance. “Even at the moment of your failure, you are beautiful,” she says. “You don’t know it yet, but you have the ability to reinvent yourself endlessly. That’s your beauty.”
– thank you Carrie.

6. Matthew Weiner, Mad Men creator, also has some good, encouraging words about the creative struggle… he is one of my heroes. The two podcast interviews with him on Nerdist  (episode 561 and episode 673) are long but entertaining, especially for Mad Men fans.

7. Jet lag for an insomniac is always challenging. In some ways it’s liberating as, while awake in the dark at 4am in Australia, I could relax by thinking “Well at least it’s 10am on Salt Spring.” I have just discovered an album of adult lullabies called Sleep by Max Richter which sounds soporific on a first listen. I might give it a burl.

8. Max Richter was also on NPR this week talking about his influences. I didn’t know a single thing about Max Richter before listening to this, and it’s always interesting to dip into the world and process of a newly discovered musician.

9. And finally – something to BLOW YOUR MIND.

See? Something for everyone.

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Friday Five Favourites – guest-starring Tara MacLean
Singer, songwriter, and award winning recording and touring artist. She is currently running a Pledge Music Campaign where you can pre-order her new album.

Most often found at TaraMacleanMusic.com, Facebook and currently at Pledge Music.

 

How exciting to make a list of my favourite things! I feel like Oprah!

1. Let me start with Moonshine Mama’s Turmeric Elixir.
This incredible tonic is one of the most amazing things in my life. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory powers. I used to take Ibuprofen when I had a headache or pain, but now I just do a shot of this magic potion and it fixes me up. Vitamin C, Iron, B6, and so many other benefits contribute to why it is my #1, but one of my favourite reasons is that it can be served on ice as a cold shot, or with hot water as a warm tea.  It’s an all season hit! It also makes a mean cocktail! It’s so delicious, you don’t even realise you’re drinking medicine. It’s a lovely gift, because everyone loves it, and a totally reasonable thing to bring to a party instead of wine. Mix it with soda water or sparkling wine and it’s the best mimosa you’ve ever had. I highly recommend always having this energizing tonic to start your day!  Have you seen me around? Am I not super perky? This is why.

2. Davines Oi Oil for Hair
I am OBSESSED with this. Where I live, people hug a lot, but not everyone smells good. In fact, I’d venture to say that some of the smelliest people live here. And I love them, oh yes I do.  However, there is nothing like the feeling when someone hugs you, and then comes back for a little bit more because they can’t believe how AMAZING you smell. The sophisticated, yet intoxicating scent gets me daily compliments and cuddles. This hair oil not only keeps my hair shiny and healthy, but it gets me more love. And isn’t that what the world needs? Isn’t this what you need? This company is really eco-conscious as well, and the oil can only be purchased through a licensed dealer. I actually use a ton of their hair products, especially the Sea Salt Spray which gives you that beachy look. This is my number #1 beauty product recommendation. I can’t live without it.

3. Dried Mulberries
I always have a bag of these in my purse. I am “trying” to eat less sugar, and whenever I feel compelled to chomp into that chocolate bar, I grab a handful of these sweet little berries and it does the trick. Plus they are so incredibly good for you. They have protein and fibre, as well as a ton of Vitamin C and Calcium and antioxidant properties. I am always needing to eat something. I have a bit of an oral fixation and love to snack. Something about this berry makes me feel satiated and happy. I’m also told they help with blood circulation and, the older we get, the more we need that stuff to pump through us smoothly! Pick a bag of these up at your local grocery store. If you buy them in bulk, you can usually get at least $5 worth into your mouth before they catch you so that is a big cost savings right there.  Enjoy!

4. Acadie by Daniel Lanois
Some records are just perfect. Acadie found me when I was 19, and has accompanied me through my life since then. It’s production is flawless and timeless and the songs are masterfully written. Daniel Lanois is my favourite living musician on Earth, and has been known to produce little albums like U2’s Joshua Tree, Peter Gabriel’s SO, Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball (another perfect album), Bob Dylan’s Time out of Mind, WIllie Nelson’s Teatro, and of course, Baby Beluga by Raffi. All this stuff is great, but to dive into his solo offerings is pure heaven. He has many records, but this one is haunting, beautiful and essential. I have met Daniel Lanois, and though my futile attempts to flirt with him did not lead to anything that would make this story more juicy, I can say he is a brilliant guy, and a bit too much of a gentleman.

5. My Record Player
Oh, Vinyl. They sat in storage for decades. Last Christmas, my incredibly thoughtful husband bought me a turntable. I lugged the dusty, heavy container up the stairs (he could have helped me with that, so maybe he isn’t THAT thoughtful), pulled out each record slowly, and savoured the memories that flooded over me with each one I held. It was like getting reacquainted with a part of myself that had been put into storage. My pre-baby, super cool and eclectic self who had time to sit and listen undistracted to the greatest albums ever made. How decadent! I saw my life go by, from The Muppet Movie Soundtrack, to Stevie Nicks, to Duran Duran, to Edith Piaf. From Miles Davis to Bowie, The Ramones to The Police….and there I was! I had spent all this time and energy searching for myself and all this time I had been hidden in a dusty container. I emerged. It was glorious. If you don’t have a record player, go find one and then order The Best of Edith Piaf on vinyl from some online source.  Pour yourself a hot bubble bath, drop the needle, and live La Vie En Rose.

 

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Thanks for joining me again. And if you think someone you know might like this, please, please forward it on to them or send them to my sign-up page. The more the merrier.

Claire Robertson,
The Small Batch List
Person with a keyboard
xo

p.s. 100 points for guessing the quote in the subject line… Did you guess that it was a Beastie Boys’ lyric last time? “I’ve got more rhymes than I’ve got grey hairs, and that’s a lot because I’ve got my share”

 

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