THE WORD: Cafuné

Like it or not, February is the month of love. We know, we know. We can already hear you protesting that Valentine’s Day is nothing but a soulless excuse for a holiday invented by capitalists to convince people they must buy things in order to show their affection, and sending the unhealthy message that one must have romantic love in order to feel whole. You’re not wrong, of course. However we believe there’s a way to celebrate the month of love without resorting to excessive consumption, and without obsessing over the quest for romance. Love, after all, is free, and it comes in many, many forms.

This February, we’ll be showing our affection through small, thoughtful acts. A cup of coffee brought to the bedside in the morning. A favourite meal remembered and made. A heartfelt encouraging word on a tough day. And cafuné. An impossible-to-translate Brazilian Portuguese word, which has been adapted from a Yoruba phrase used by African slaves in Brazil, cafuné describes the tender act of running one’s fingers through a loved one’s hair. Cafuné is a mother comforting a child, it’s a lover caressing their sweetheart, or a friend saying “I’m here” without uttering a word. Cafuné is as much about human connection as it is physical affection, and it doesn’t cost a dime. That’s the kind of loving act we’ll be celebrating this month.

Perfect If: You’ve got a lot of love to give, this month and every month.

THE SHOW: The Consultant

A bow-tie wearing consultant comes to the rescue in this Prime Video miniseries set to premiere on 24 February. A dark comedy and workplace thriller that promises to keep viewers glued to their seats, the story is based on the eponymous novel by American author Bentley Little and stars the formidable Cristoph Waltz. Need we say more? Created by writer Tony Basgallop (Servant, To the Ends of the Earth), the comically twisted show – which explores the oftentimes fraught relationship between boss and employee, yikes – also stars Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars, Death Note), Brittany O’Grady (The White Lotus) and Aimee Carrero (Elena of Avalor, The Menu). That’s one cast we’re not willing to miss.

Perfect If: Severance whet your appetite for workplace horror, and you’re hungry for more.

THE FILM: Your Place Or Mine

Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy never tells girl, and when they do a house swap 20 years later, she falls for someone else. Based on the trailer for this romantic comedy arriving just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’re not expecting the film of the century – or even one whose plot we’ll remember a year from now, to be honest. But when you involve the writers behind The Devil Wears Prada and 27 Dresses, and put Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher in the lead, you don’t have to ask us twice. Predictable? Probably. Heartwarming? Almost certainly. And since it will be available on Netflix (from 10 February), you won’t even have to put on real clothes to watch it.

Perfect If: It’s cold out, and you just want to curl up on the couch and drink in the cinematic equivalent of hot chocolate with marshmallows.

THE DOCU-SHOW: History’s Greatest Heists with Pierce Brosnan

Looking for some non-fiction thrills to get you through the late winter chills? On 7 February, tune into The History Channel for the premiere of this eight-episode series that’s bound to become the latest binge-worthy show for any fans of historical high jinks. Hosted by none other than Pierce Brosnan, History’s Greatest Heists promises to uncover the devious planning and audacious execution – as well as the diresome aftermath – behind some of the most impressive and elaborate thefts in history. That means the 1978 Lufthansa heist at New York’s JFK Airport, the 2003 Antwerp diamond heist, the half-billion-dollar Gardner Museum art robbery in 1990, and more.

Perfect If: You think Pierce Brosnan was the best Bond of all time, will die on that hill, and are longing for a little more of that energy.

THE EVENT: Carnevale di Viareggio

Italy’s most famous carnival is celebrating its 150th birthday, and for the entire month of February, it’s going big – bigger than the gigantic papier-mâché works of art it’s already known for. With six different parades showcasing the remarkable craftsmanship of the carristi, aka the artisans behind these elaborate floats that parade along the historic Via Regia, as well as marching bands, thematic costumes and firework shows, this seaside city is coming alive once again. Carnival antics meet high culture with exhibitions by the Lorenzo Viani Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery, showcasing the history and traditions of the allegorical floats through paintings, drawings and engravings, as well as with a costume exhibit at the Villa Argentina, and a sculpture and painting gallery representing the artistic value of the carnival. And then there are the countless food trucks offering the most iconic carnival sweets... Got your tickets yet?

Perfect If: You were waiting for a sign from the universe to take an impromptu, magical trip to Tuscany. Well, this is it.


Award-winning Rotterdam-based designer Sabine Marcelis has joined forces with IKEA to create a collaboration blending power, purpose and positivity. VARMBLIXT, available this month in IKEA stores around the world, explores the impact of lighting and colour in creating an uplifting experience at home. The 20-piece collection, with prices ranging between €4 and €150, includes sculptural lighting fixtures (the donut-shaped lamp and the frosted glass pendant lamp went straight to our wishlist), sunset-inspired rugs and beautiful tableware, all designed to interact with direct or indirect light and transform a room using the elements Marcelis’ signature style: illusion of depth, dynamic effects, carefully considered detailing and elegant minimalism. IKEA has officially become fancy.

Perfect If: You need home therapy – the luxurious yet affordable kind.

THE SOUND: Paramore’s This Is Why

Ah, we knew there was something missing from the music industry for the past few years, and now we can say for sure that it was Paramore. The American rock band is all set to make their stellar comeback on 10 February with their promising sixth studio album, This Is Why, marking the band’s first album in over six years. If lead single “This Is Why” is anything to go by, it’s bound to bring the best of their ‘00s sound right into 2023. Take a look at the music video, and tell us it doesn’t give you instant goosebumps when Hayley Williams’ voice comes through! We’ve suddenly got the urge to go to Hot Topic, care to join?

Perfect If: You feel like reminiscing about your teenage years, but would rather die than revive your style from back then. You’ll settle for listening to your favourite nostalgic band, thank you very much.

THE OCCASION: Random Act of Kindness Day

Amid stressful planning for Valentine’s Day – or stressing that one doesn’t have any plans – it’s good to be reminded that there are other, less obvious kinds of love and affection to be celebrated and shared. This 17 February, consider spreading the love with a random act of kindness. Visit a lonely neighbour. Send flowers to someone who could use some cheering up. Pay for the order behind you in the queue. Lend a hand to a traveller struggling with their bags. Help a person who seems lost. Simply smile. You never know if you might make a difference when someone needs it most.

Perfect If: You spent the first two weeks of the month worrying about what to do for that special someone, and welcome the idea of doing something nice for a complete stranger.

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