A few months ago I wrote something about happiness and how a Fred Again concert made me feel whole. At the time, I was dwelling on what it means to be happy and what actually brings me happiness.
Apart from the obvious answers such as my family and friends, I realised that when I’m bored or looking for something to make me feel better, I usually turn to specific activities that bring me comfort. These may include watching my favourite movies, listening to specific music, re-reading a book or baking a cake. In an effort to help anyone who needs something to lift them up or just to get to know me a bit better, here’s a list of things for you to try:
I’ve heard that psychopaths love to watch the same movies over and over again and well … that’s worrisome as I tend to rewatch lots of things. Even so, here are five movies I recommend watching at some point in your life that will make you think about the relationships you’ve had — whether those are romantic, friendships or with family.
1. Close, by Lukas Dont
The only movie that has ever made me cry in a movie theatre and my favourite movie from 2023 so far. I loved it for its beautiful photography, the excellent acting and the overall story, which is very simple yet deeply touching.
2. C’mon C’mon, by Mike Mills
Joaquin Phoenix is one of my favourite actors and I think he’s brilliant in this movie. It’s beautiful to watch and you leave it thinking about life and the meaning of your relationships as a child.
3. In The Mood for Love, by Wong Kar-wai
After watching this you’ll be packing your bags to visit Hong Kong. An instant classic, every scene in this movie deserves to be a poster and I love how it portrays relationships in a different culture from mine.
4. Lost in Translation, by Sofia Coppola
A classic feel-good movie. Scarlet is amazing in this, personifying beauty and simplicity at the same time, while Bill Murray looks as quirky and funny as usual. An amazing story about two strangers that find common ground.
5. Her, by Spike Jonze
I’m addicted to my phone and technology and this movie depicts a not-so-farfetched world. Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlet Johansson’s voice are the perfect pairing to make you feel all the feelings. Also, extra points for the soundtrack.
As mentioned, music plays a big part in my life. I’m always looking for the perfect soundtrack for what I’m living and so I’m sharing 4 songs I’ve been listening to lately that you may like:
1. No Words Left, by Hanakiv and Alabaster DePlume
Listen here if you’re looking for a soothing piano song.
2. Sonate Pacifique, L’imperatrice
Perfect to sing along and dance like no-one’s watching.
3. Chanel, by Frank Ocean
My favourite by the talented Frank.
4. Memory Box, by Peter Cat Recordings Co
Just an overall, happy song. I think it’s perfect for a cruise.
It’s hard for me to pick my favourite books, so I’m picking the ones I’ve gifted the most and that have touched me in some way or another.
1. Normal People, by Sally Rooney
My closest friends know how deeply this one has touched me. I had never read a book where both main characters are so similar to me and I love the way their flaws are so eloquently written.
2. Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke
One of my best friends gave me this one as a present a few years ago. I’ve loved it so much I’ve since gifted it to several people as well. This one’s great to analyse your thoughts and think about your purpose. I especially like the bi-lingual version where you have the German version alongside your language, i.e Portuguese
3. Blankets, by Craig Thompson
Another recommendation by one of my besties, this was the first graphic novel I’ve ever read. I was sceptical about being able to read a graphic novel but I’ve since told many others to read it and everyone has loved it. An amazing coming-of-age story, written and illustrated in an exquisite manner.
For me, there’s two places that bring me comfort — my home town, Braga, and my favourite city, Lisbon.
I’m often very harsh on Braga. This is where I was born and grew up and where I have my deepest relationships. My brother, mother and closest friends all live there, so despite all its flaws, Braga is home.
When I think about comfort and happiness in the city, I tend to think about Bom Jesus, which is very close to the house I was raised in, so I spent a lot of time there. This is the perfect spot to watch the sunset, do some exercise, eat an ice-cream or just wander through nature.
Then, there’s Lisbon. I’ve written about my love for the city many times so today I’ll just focus on what makes me happy here: the ability to choose. For example, there’s all types of cuisines here, but I’ll mention my favourite one for ramen which is Panda Cantina. When it comes to activities, I’d recommend visiting Gulbenkian, going to Lx Factory and be mistaken by a foreigner, go on a walk by the river in Ribeira das Naus, have a few drinks in Graça, buy some cool stuff at Feira da Ladra and just enjoy the city.
Lastly, I’ll recommend something to do when you’re feeling bored or just looking for that extra taste of life: baking brownies!
I get a lot of praise for my brownies and I’m no gatekeeper, so here’s the recipe:
450g culinary chocolate
140g unsalted butter
350g brown sugar
105g wheat flour
On the stove, mix the chocolate and butter in a pan until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Combine all the other ingredients in a separate bowl, until your batter is homogenous and lump-free.
Add the chocolate to the batter and mix everything together.
Grease a pan with butter and flour and bake for 30–40 mins at 180ºC degrees. Remove before it is completely cooked and let it cool. Cut into squares, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.
Do you have other suggestions? I’d love to read them and see / read / experience some of them, so please share them!