Welcome to the latest post of The Weekly Balance. Let’s have a look back at the past seven days in my life and what I’ve learnt from it.

What I’m thinking about

Women’s safety. Those of you reading in Ireland and the UK will I’m sure have seen the tragic news about a young woman named Sarah Everard in London, who was reported missing last week and just a couple of days ago, it emerged that she was murdered. A young woman, in her thirties, simply walking home from a friend’s house – but she didn’t make it home. I first of all just want to acknowledge the unimaginable loss and pain her family, friends, and those who knew her must be experiencing – there aren’t words for how unbelievably cruel this is, and how deep their loss must go.

An outpouring of grief, anger, frustration and devastation has followed this news, particularly on social media, with countless women taking to platforms like Instagram and Twitter, to express their sympathy and sadness for what happened to Sarah, and also to tell their stories of violation, assault, intimidation and worse still, at the hands of men. To share the tactics and rules they follow to remain safe, whether out for a walk or out for a night. ‘Text me when you get home’ – the refrain we all echo to each other as we part ways. But the issue should not be women’s to fix, to come up with more and more safety nets. The issue is the culture and environments we feel unsafe in. I’ve spent most of this week, like many of you I am sure, filled with sorrow and anger at what Sarah, and the countless women all over the world that never made it home, experienced and the loss of their lives, their future. Solutions are beyond the scope of this post but the conversation and status quo need to change. Every woman deserves to make it home safe.

What I’m reading

Recently I finished A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles, which was an absolutely charming and cosy read. Set in Moscow beginning in the 1920s, this is the story of Count Alexander Rostov, a gentleman sentenced by a Bolshevik tribunal to house arrest for the rest of his life in the Metropol Hotel, across the street from the Kremlin. When I read the blurb for this book, I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of it, but a friend assured me it was her favourite book of 2020, and that was high praise!

I adored this book. Rostov is an engaging, kind, humourous and witty protaganist, a man who tries to be one step ahead always, with a curious and open mind to all he meets. You would think a life sentence in a hotel would make for boring reading, but in fact, the hotel itself is a central character of the novel, brought to life through it’s staff, whom Rostov befriends, and it’s international visitors. In fact, as the novel follows the Count through the decades of his life at the hotel, what develops beautifully is the family he establishes there, from the kitchen staff to the manager to the glamourous actress staying for a weekend to the child he meets by chance exploring the hotel. You’ll be returning to the Count as much as you can to read every single one of his days in the Metropol – I was on his side from the beginning and found myself looking forward to returning to his adventures in the hotel each night.

As always, let me know what you’re reading in the comments below! I’m currently reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which is my book pick for my March Book Club. If you’d like to join us, all you have to do is read along with us during March and on the 21st March at 6pm we’ll be having a discussion about the book via Zoom. More details over on my Instagram!

What I’m listening to

This week there were a few podcast episodes I really enjoyed. I’ve listed my top two and a new audiobook below for you guys:

Sentimental Garbage:  Hosted by author Caroline O’Donoghue, the most recent episodes of this podcast are conversations with author and columnist Dolly Alderton about the infamous TV series Sex and the City, which I’ve just recently started watching again. I snort with laughter every single time I listen to this podcast, I know I’ve recommended it before but it’s so funny. It’s also more than just a dissection of the themes of the show, it’s a conversation about love, friendship and fun among women and I love it!

How I Found My Voice: This is a new podcast for me this week, and I started with the episode with Kate Winslet, which was one of the loveliest interviews I’ve listened to in the last while. Kate discusses her career from beginning to now, her friendship with Leonardo Di Caprio (especially loved the chat about Titanic!), and how she deals with the tabloids, and how the pandemic has been for her. Such a good episode, and this podcast also has an interview with Elizabeth Day as well which I really enjoyed.

Table Manners with Jessie Ware: Another podcast favourite of mine, and the latest episode with Dan Levy, co-creator and star of the hit TV series Schitt’s Creek, is one of their best to date. It’s one that made me laugh and smile in equal measure, something we all need a bit more of these days.

What I’m watching…

This week, I started The Bold Type on Netflix, which is excellent so far – a show about 3 young women in New York working at a popular womens’ magazine (Scarlet), following their ups and downs, friendship and love, in and outside of work. It’s provided some much needed escapism!

And that’s a wrap for this week gang! If you want to get in touch, you can find me @theirishbalance on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I hope you have a lovely week ahead folks – remember, stay informed with the advice from your local health authority regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask, keep your distance and be kind!

Ciara x

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