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Monthly Faves (August)

What has been occupying us for the past month(ish), from books to podcasts to recipes and beauty products. This month Talani clearly got a free trial with Amazon Prime.. and had a good time while Lilly introduced us to a cocktail we are all dying for!

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Cruel Summer and the Wilds on Amazon Prime (Talani)

It has been a long time since a television show (let alone two) have consumed me. Yet, while watching firstly Cruel Summer and then the Wilds (both with ten episodes each), my face was practically pressed against my laptop screen. I have been obsessed to the point of sending these shows to friends I haven’t spoken to in months, doing Buzzfeed ‘Which Character am I’ quizzes and endlessly scrolling Tumblr and Reddit for novel theories about season 2. Ahh to feel alive again. Where do I begin?

I was first drawn to Cruel Summer for two reasons: (1) I saw it stars Olivia Holt who I have had a soft spot for since Cloak and Dagger and (2) it is a mystery/thriller/drama set in the 1990’s with a killer wardrobe and soundtrack (Olivia Holt’s cover of the Smashing Pumpkin’s ‘Today’ is a primary example). Cruel Summer stars Chiara Aurelia alongside Holt and follows the experiences of two opposite teenagers: awkward-and-nerdy-teenager-turned-it-girl Jeanette (played by Aurelia) and sweet and kind southern belle Kate over the course of three Summers, during one of which Kate disappears. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the whole back of fourth between loving and hating each of the characters will have you at the end of the feet and just as you think you know what's going on, the show takes you in another direction entirely (including in the final moments of the season).

It was the need for mystery and theories I got a taste for in Cruel Summer (as well as my Amazon Prime recommendations) that led me to The Wilds. It follows eight girls believed to be attending a girls’ retreat in Hawaii but end up stranded on an island required to fend for themselves. But the crux of it is… the entire thing unbeknownst to them is staged and actually a social experience that each of the girls appear to have been selected for. The story is told, like Cruel Summer, at three points of time (before the trip, on the island and after being “rescued”) and every watch (or reward) yields more clues about what really happened to the girls. While it ends with some pretty serious cliffhangers, season 2 has just finished filming so it's the perfect time to get hooked.

Fresh strawberry daiquiris (Lilly)

As lockdown drags on, my weekends have been marked by my housemates cooking up absolute feasts. Did I mention I live with chefs? Yeah, I would be jealous too. Since I can’t offer up much in the way of culinary knowledge, my contribution to these meals usually takes the shape of cocktails. (And dishes duty… but for the amazing food I’m eating, I’ll cop it.) I don’t want to call it too early but I think we have discovered THE cocktail of our summer. It’s so easy to make and even easier to drink: fresh strawberry daiquiris. Here’s the recipe for one cocktail (but you know you will be making many more):

  • Four(ish) juicy juicy fresh strawbs

  • Juice from ½ a lime

  • 1 shot of white rum

  • 1 shot of simple syrup (literally just dissolve sugar in hot water at a 1:1 ratio)

  • Small handful of ice

Chuck it all in the blender and that is IT. We have started freezing punnets of strawberries in my house for emergencies (you never know when you might need a daq!) which also means you don’t need to add as much ice to the blender. We have also experimented with adding watermelon (extra juicy flava) and/or some mint (chef’s kiss). It’s allowing me to reconnect with my days making smoothies at Boost Juice, but this time with alcohol. YUM!

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