Sunday Suggestions 15-01-2017

Sunday Suggestions 17-01-2017: a round up of things to read, watch, listen to and do || raeritchie.comHello!  An especially warm welcome to those of you who may be new to Sunday Suggestions.  This weekly column is where I share a round-up of what’s caught my eye during the previous week, from articles to viral videos.  I try to ensure that it’s a mix of insightful, intelligent and amusing links that available to all.  Enjoy!

  • If, like me, you’re looking forward to the forthcoming release of ‘Jackie’ at the pictures, then check out this review of the film by scholar Oline Eaton: ‘Jackie’ and the post-truth biopic.  It’s a great read with an in-depth critique from an expert on Jackie O, going beyond the usual film review territory.  I know Oline from my academic days and love her insights into the world of celebrity and gossip.  Whether you’re planning on seeing or not, if you want a perceptive view on popular culture then follow her blog, finding jackie.


  • Another famous figure from US history surrounded by layers of myth and imaginings is Henry David Thoreau – yes, the man who ventured out to Walden Pond to see what he could learn about life from living in nature but omitted to mention that he still got his washing done by his mother and sister!  Despite his oversight in crediting unpaid female domestic labour, I am fascinated by Thoreau and his adventures.  One of the happiest afternoons of my life was when two friends and I ventured to his hometown of Concord, MA, then visited Walden Pond.
Walden Pond & scientific discovery || Sunday Suggestions 17-01-2017 ||
My friend Mel & me at Walden Pond, March 2014

Earlier this week, one of those friends forwarded me this article from the New York Times about the scientific research going on at the lake.  It’s a fascinating read about geology and time and the impact of humans on the environment.  It also touches on the intriguing subject of unconscious human emissions when wild swimming (just to warn you).  If you’d like to know more about Thoreau then check out this essay from The Thoreau Society.


  • Back to the present day, specifically 15th January 2017.  It’s the third Sunday of the new year.  How are your resolutions going?  Statistically the chances are that your resolve has ebbed away by now.  Maybe you didn’t make any at all.  I prefer to concentrate on plans and having a one word theme for the year, but I do set some goals too.  One for 2017 is to read a book for thirty minutes everyday.  It’s going pretty well so far.  I’ve polished off three interesting titles and have a pile more to keep me going (I’m recording my progress on a Pinterest board if you fancy taking a look or getting some bibliographical inspiration).

Because of this goal, I was pleased to discover that the master of, well, self-mastery, Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness ProjectHappier and Home and Better Than Before) had produced a handy download with tips on how to read more.  On the same page, she has other useful worksheets on topics such as working, eating and exercising.  You can freely access them all on this page.

  • As regular readers know, I’m a big fashion fan.  Today I want to offer up several different sartorial reads that have caught my eye in the last seven days.

Firstly, last Sunday night saw the start of the awards season with the Golden Globes.  Rachel Evan Wood found herself the centre of much discussion for her decision to walk the red carpet in a tuxedo rather than the standard couture gown.  As always, the Pool presented a measured assessment of the debate.  Incidentally, Wood’s look was my favourite of the night; she along with my other choices feature on another Pinterest board, Looks of 2017, where I’ll be pinning any other winning styles that I see in the public arena this year.

Secondly, I am becoming increasingly absorbed in the topic of sustainable and ethical fashion.  As is so often the case when you develop a new obsession, you find references to it all over the place.  This week, Refinery 29 featured ‘Six Ways To Make Your Wardrobe More Sustainable‘.  This offers some good suggestions although it does read like a barely disguised promotion for the ethically minded online retailer Rêve En Vert.  Coincidentally, this week I met with another e-retailer who concentrates on sustainable fashion: check out Sheer for more.  You can also read about some ethical clothing companies that I love in a previous Sunday Suggestions post.

These brands are all small enterprises but the big guns are getting on the mindful fashion bandwagon too.  For three months Selfridges are promoting ‘Mindful Materials’, a showcase for eight brands that they stock with a focus on their environmental kudos in terms of the fabrics that they use.  It’s easy to be cynical about such initiatives but they can raise awareness of important issues.  Did you know that our demand for cashmere has led to the overgrazing of land and maltreatment of some animals?  No, neither did I until I read the Selfridges’ article.

A different approach to the topic comes from my friend Catherine over at Midlands Minimalist.  She’s written a guest post for Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist site about undertaking a wardrobe edit, a move which as a by-product can help us develop a more sustainable stance on what we wear.  Happy to get a little shout-out in the post too!

  • Finally, I like to finish on a funny or heartwarming video.  Today it’s the turn of ‘Our Dancing Town’.  On Wednesday I stayed up far later than usual and stumbled across a gem of a TV programme on the BBC.  Entitled ‘Our Dancing Town’, it’s about a choreographer visiting a rather down-at-the-heel working-class Yorkshire town called Barnsley.

His job is to get locals involved in performing a kind of mass flash mob on the streets of this former mining community.  It’s a tough challenge that you can see him undertaking in this clip of him spreading the word.  But I don’t think I’m giving away an spoilers to say that it all comes together amazingly in the end with a fun music and dance spectacular that could rival the theatrics of ‘La La Land’.  You can watch the foot tapping scene here.  It’ll put a spring in your step and smile on your face for the whole day. Watch and share!

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