Playlist: Girl power

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year for us here in the southern hemisphere. And also the longest night. Mid-winter.

It’s been cold and stormy and I keep finding myself closing up tight into a bud, instead of blooming where I’m planted (as the motivational wallpaper on my work computer says I should).

Self-care comes in many forms: exercise, meditation, craft and music. This week, music has been my physician of choice. And the songs that seemed to grab me most had one thing in common: strong female vocals shot through with vulnerability and a good measure of fun.

Maybe you’ll enjoy it too…

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Podcast episodes I’ve enjoyed lately

Remember in August last year I shared my 5 favourite podcasts with you?

Well, seven months down the line and I’m more obsessed with *listening* to stories than ever before, regularly discovering new gems to add to my weekly playlist.

Instead of introducing you to a batch of my new favourite podcasts, however, I’d rather share a few of the individual episodes that have really captured my imagination lately and stuck around in my head and my heart… for various reasons.

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Just tell me a story: 5 podcasts I can’t get enough of

If there’s one thing I love more than anything else in the entire world, it’s a good story.

And, if you’ll allow me to brag just for a second here, I’m really good at sniffing them out wherever I can.

So, when I finally got round to listening to Serial Season 1 – the who dunnit drama that got the entire world tuning into podcasts again – sometime last year and devoured it at a furious pace,  it didn’t take me very long to find similar sorts of audio thrills elsewhere.

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Words that got me thinking this week

Since a very young age I’ve been collecting words.

Among the ever-increasing collection of novels on my shelves, you will find notebooks filled with quotes, jotted down in a juvenile handwriting, gathered from the usual sources – Huletts sugar packets, movies, books and magazines – joined in more recent times by snippets of conversation, sharp wit and pleasing turns of phrase spotted on social media.

For some reason I’ve always found tremendous comfort, encouragement and inspiration in words. Here are a few that tumbled into my life this week: Continue reading

What I’ve been listening to lately

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Okay, look people, I’m of the opinion that if there weren’t any music in this world, there would pretty much be no reason to exist. At all.

Imagine we had to wade through our lives sans soundtrack.

No soppy love songs to accompany the mushy first flutterings of butterflies-in-the-stomach.

No epic oeuvres to guide us along winding coastal roads at sunset.

No palm muted punk rock to soothe our angsty teenage souls (and take us right back to those best-of-worst-of days unexpectedly on a Tuesday night in our late twenties.)

No Alanis Morisette (or Taylor Swift/Adele/death metal if you’re that way inclined) to blast at top volume when those butterflies suddenly turn into sharp little shards of ice.

No Bohemian Rhapsody to… actually just that. No Bohemian Rhapsody.

Doesn’t that just sound unbearable?

In fact, I’m quite partial to the idea that if there weren’t any music in this world we probably wouldn’t exist in the first place. At all.

An age old concept Bruce Chatwin highlights poignantly in his amazing Australia travelogue, The Songlines:

 “Aboriginal Creation myths tell of the legendary totemic beings who had wandered over the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path – birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes – and so singing the world into existence.”


Don’t you just love that? The idea of everything being sung into existence!

So, I guess it’s no surprise that discovering the kind of soulful music we crave is always a rejuvenating, life-giving experience.

Here’s what I’ve had on repeat in my ears for the past week or so:

Ambient Electronica


After months and months of pretty much listening to only to various forms of indie, indie folk and folk music, I suddenly had an overwhelming craving for really pretty, ambient, almost ethereal electronica.

So, I decided to dig around a bit and get some recommendations. Within a few hours I had constructed a Grooveshark playlist that comes pretty close to perfection, featuring Felix Laband, M83, Andrew Bayer and Air. Give it a listen, yo!

John Wizards


It was a blog post by the lovely Emma-Jane that introduced me to these local lads earlier this week.

Originally from Cape Town, this six-piece band has been making quite a name for themselves overseas with their delighful eclectic electronic reggae.Their songs have a very definite African tinge to them both in sound and name – there’s one called Muizenberg, another Lusaka by Night as well as a Limpop and iYongwe.

According to their website they will be traversing Europe till deep in November, but I really hope they do a little December home run!


Milky Chance

Milky Chance

This super cute German duo’s sound has been described as alternative pop folk rock with reggae and electronic undertones. Which means their tunes are actually quite similar to John Wizards. But then there’s the voice. Oh the voice! Slightly gruff with that sexy folky twang. Hmmm… and the man behind it isn’t too bad either.

Okay, yes. I have a huge crush on the singer dude. HUGE.

Thanks to my friends Marli and Bronwyn for introducing me to my new obsession with this song that just makes one want to boogie.

Also check out this super cool video for their song, Down by the River.

Nahko Bear and the Medicine People

nahko bear

I’ve been listening to Nahko Bear for a while now and fall just a little bit more deeply in love every time I hear one of their songs. It’s difficult to describe their sound, but guess it comes down to a vibrant blend of a little bit of everything – jazz, folk, hip hop, Native American tribal, surf rock… All I know is that it’s full of good vibes and happiness.

It really makes you “believe in the good things coming,” as ‘Black as nigt‘ professes.

Oh and Nahko is just gorgeous!

These are my two favourite songs:


Last, but not least… an assortment of vinyl

After wanting one for close on forever, I finally took the plunge and invested in a record player about a month ago. It’s a super cute little thing – a pink Crosley Cruiser the size and shape of a suitcase, with tiny built in speakers that make a big sound.

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Currently I own only about 15 records, which I picked up for dirt cheap at flea markets and second-hand shops. And unfortunately most of them don’t sound that great.  But ever willing to help me pursue things I’m passionate about, my parents kindly lent me some of their old vinyls to get me into the swing of things so long.

My current favourites include an assortment of greatest hit collections, including Queen, Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Leonard Cohen, Peter Sarstedt and the Eagles, as well as Dire Straits’ Making Movies.

On a mission, though, to build a mighty collection!

I absolutely love the ritual of it – getting home after a long day at work or waking up on a lazy Sunday morning, opening up the suitcase lid, lifting that little arm, picking a record, placing it gently on the turntable and carefully letting the needle drop just right to crank some old school tunes.

It’s my best!

If you’re looking for a little Crosley of your own, check out

Why haven’t I seen these 80s movies?


Let me just start this post off by admitting that, really, I’m just not that into movies.

It’s not that I have anything AGAINST them, it’s just that, say for instance, I find myself at a loose end on a Saturday night – no plans, no desire to make any – chances are almost zero that I’d spend the evening devouring back-to-back screenings of the latest blockbusters to grace the DVD shop’s shelves.

In fact, given the choice between reading a book and watching some randomly selected film, I would always choose the book.

Given the choice between browsing Pinterest with a glass (or two… okay, let’s make it a bottle) of wine at hand and watching a film I’m not particularly interested in, 90% of the time I’d choose the former.

Given the choice between just pottering around my flat, listening to music and rearranging… stuff and watching a movie, I would almost certainly potter.

I’m not too sure *why* exactly this is the case – it could have something to do with the fact that I don’t have a TV and my laptop is super tiny, which, let’s face it, isn’t the best for watching stuff on.

Or that I never remember my account name/number at the DVD shop and it’s kind of embarrassing.

Or maybe it’s because I really hate feeling like I wasted two-to-three hours of my precious time on something that left me underwhelmed (I’m looking at you, Moonrise Kingdom), devastated to the point of curling into the foetal position forever (ahem… Requiem for a Dream), fearing what might happen if I wake up at 3am (Gothika, you bastard!!) or with a substantial drop in brain cell activity (I’d really rather not say).

Whatever the case may be, the point is I’m rather picky when it comes to films.

So, when I came across this article on Huffington Post about the 10 ’80s movies writer, Alison Tate, would want her kids to watch and learn from, I felt strangely cheated… but also excited.

One whole half of the list consists of amazing-looking movies – films that I know will fit right into my firm favourites list – that I haven’t seen yet!

I couldn’t believe it.

So, here they are – the five ’80s movies I’m actually going to make time to see. Better open a new Red Sofa account!

The Breakfast Club 

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Say anything


Pretty in Pink

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Princess Bride

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