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It’s incredible how time is just flying by this year…April’s almost over and I’ve been blogging constantly for a while now. I like to reflect on the month that has just gone by, which is why I’ll be sharing my favourites at the end of each month in a #FridayFive post – musical instruments, accessories, tools, food, clothes, books…whatever I’m loving most!

1) Ableton Live

Screenshot of Ableton Live

Photo by Vania Shows

I’ve been playing live shows for quite a few years now. I’m a classically trained pianist but, as I started writing pop songs, I soon realised that I really needed to learn some kind of string instrument to be able to play my songs everywhere. Keyboards can be really heavy and unpractical and they feel different to a real piano anyway. So I learnt both ukulele and guitar, albeit not exceptionally well. Still, they get the job done.

I’ve been playing live for a while in duo formation, mostly bass and guitar (sometimes acoustic, sometimes electric). It was always a very acoustic setup…which is pleasant, don’t get me wrong, but it’s harder to involve your audience, especially in longer shows.

Enter Ableton Live 10. We’ve only tried it once, and clearly I messed up the timing in launching one of the clips but that’s ok! Our current setup is Ableton Live, an Arturia Keylab Essentials 49 and a bass (acoustic or electric depending on the situation), with additional elements such as a guitar or a ukulele. We either record clips beforehand and then launch them creatively and play over them, or record them and loop them as we go along. It’s still work in progress and we still need to figure out a lot of things, but it’s really changed our way of performing. We can do so much more with our music now!

I’m pretty sure I’ll be using that and the Launchpad Pro from Novation, which we’ve just ordered from Thomann, to record quite a few videos as well…so stay tuned for those!

2) The Forest App

I already reviewed the Forest App in a detailed blog post; essentially it’s a productivity timer ranging from 10 to 120 minutes. When you set it, it stops you from using your phone and plants a virtual tree. This tree grows during the selected time and shows up in your forest once the timer is over.

It works well with the modified Pomodoro method I use and helps me stay focused away from my smartphone, which is a huge distraction for me.

3) Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss in 728 Rose Pulpe

Chanel coco gloss 728 rose pulpe

Ok yes, I get it. This isn’t relevant to pretty much anything I’ve said or posted so far, but what can I say…I really like it. My go-to performance look is a very dark red lip, but lately I’m going for a more natural look and really like this neutral shade. In the tube, it looks like a very bright pink but actually there isn’t very much colour payoff. Basically it’s a sheer sparkly pink with blue undertones.

The formula is light and not sticky at all, and I love the dual sided applicator. It doesn’t last that long, perhaps a couple of hours without drinking or eating. Then again, it’s a gloss, I wouldn’t expect it to last that long. It lasts for a couple of hours of performing though, so that’s good enough for me.

 4) Fruit for Dinner

Fruit smoothie bowl for dinner

I’ve been feeling a bit weak and bloated due to the change of season and eating too many unhealthy foods. I was really good with my diet for a while and then…well, then I wasn’t! I’ve decided I’m done with diets though, because the only reason I fell off the wagon in the first place was because my nutritionist gave me a very very restrictive diet, which was unsustainable in the long run.

Now I’m trying to make smart food choices outside the diet mentality, just going with my intuition; if you believe something is off limits, then you’ll want it more, and this is ultimately why we tend to binge on forbidden fruit, feel guilty and ashamed and end up right where we started.

I don’t eat fruit for dinner every day; I did this once when I wasn’t feeling very hungry and felt great both that evening and the morning after. Sometimes, when I feel like it, I just have fruit for dinner. It’s been really cold in Milan and it has finally warmed up April, so often I just feel like having something more summery for dinner.

Fruit has loads of fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, help us stay healthy, protect us from chronic diseases and also help us lose weight. Replacing dinner with fruit is actually simpler and more enjoyable than it sounds.

5) Annemarie Borlind Purifying Care Cleanser and Moisturiser

I have very delicate and sensitive skin which has been acting out a lot lately. All natural German skincare brand Annemarie Borlind makes my absolute favourite moisturiser and cleanser, the only products which clear up my breakouts in no time.

A while back, I’d changed my skin routine because I’d received quite a few skincare products for Christmas and I don’t like to throw out stuff. Anyway, my skin started breaking out and was really really terrible for months; every time I thought it was clearing up, I’d get a new breakout. Initially I thought it was stress, allergies, or too many unhealthy foods in my diet.

Long story short, I changed my skincare routine at the beginning of April back to these two Annemarie Borlind products and my skin cleared up within 3 days. I now have to get rid of the dark spots which developed in these last few months, but overall everything is back to normal.

Needless to say, I won’t be straying away from my Annemarie Borlind Purifying Care Moisturiser and Purifying Care Cleanser anytime soon (I get these both from Amazon since they’re really hard to find anywhere else). I look forward to trying the toner as well!

So these are my five April favourites. To be honest, I can’t wait for April to be definitely over as it’s been one of the worst months ever for allergies. See you in May!

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