THE WORD: Bellytimber

If you think ‘bellytimber’ has a hint of the Shakespearean about it, then you wouldn’t be far wrong. The word dates back to the early 17th century and literally means “food”, although it didn’t take long for the rather affected term to take on a more humorous definition. We think it deserves a revival and is well-suited to anyone who takes their food seriously – albeit with a nod and a wink – and who understands that winter offers the perfect excuse to pile on a few extra pounds…

Perfect If: You know that winter is coming and you’ll need an extra layer of, ahem, ‘padding’ to get through those dark, cold months. Or, alternatively, if you simply have a foible for dropping words like hither, thither, prithee or perchance into your conversation… (Okay, we might have been kidding about the last part, but why not?)

THE SOUND: ‘Voyage’ by ABBA

After eight studio albums, 18 number-one hits, a two-part musical, and four full decades… ABBA is back. After 40 years’ hiatus, fans of the legendary Swedish band can look forward to new songs, a new album and even an innovative digital concert where they’ll be performing classic and newer hits. The album’s first three singles, “I Still Have Faith in You”, “Don’t Shut Me Down” and “Just A Notion”, are now available on all streaming platforms – just in case you, like us, can’t wait until 5 November, when the full album will be released. This is the comeback we never knew we needed.

Perfect If: After all these years, “Dancing Queen” is still and forever will be your happy place.

THE BOOK: The Perishing by Natasha Deón

In the 1930s, Lou wakes up in an alley in Los Angeles with absolutely no memory of how she got there or where she’s from. Taken in by a caring foster family, the young Black woman dedicates herself to learning while putting her mysterious origins behind her, eventually becoming the first Black female journalist at the Los Angeles Times. However, through a series of surprising events, Lou begins to suspect that she might be an immortal sent to earth for an important reason. The Perishing crosses many genres, from historical fiction to sci-fi, but promises to be so deliciously strange and intoxicating that you won’t be able to put it down.

Perfect If: You’re looking for a page-turner to keep you entertained on those long, long November nights.


Actor, writer and producer Lin-Manuel Miranda is now adding “director” to his credentials, with this autobiographical musical about the life of Jonathan Larson before he became a Broadway legend. Starring Andrew Garfield, the story behind the writer of Rent – and the musical Tick, Tick… BOOM!, off of which the film is based – is filled with struggle, melancholy and frustrations combined with unstoppable talent and a pinch of hope that eventually takes him a long way. If you’re familiar with Larson’s tale, you might already know what’s coming – but Garfield’s singing talent is definitely new to the world. Watch it on Netflix on 19 November.

Perfect If: You’re a Rent fan, a Miranda fan, or a fan of any musical film for that matter. Or… if you just want to see a former Marvel superhero turn into a musical star.

THE EVENTS: BerlinJazzFest & Iceland Airwaves

Music festivals have been sorely missed by music lovers and regular concert-goers around the globe. Lucky for them (and us!), they’re slowly coming back, and this November sets the stage for two amazing hybrid festivals: On the one hand, Berlin JazzFest will host a roster of live events, streamed concerts and pre-recorded performances, celebrating the unique improv scenes of Cairo, São Paulo and Johannesburg. On the other hand, the Iceland Airwaves festival will feature in-person gigs as well as a one-night-only hybrid concert, Live From Reykjavik, showcasing Icelandic and international music talents whose in-person performances at local Reykjavik venues will be livestreamed to the world. Say adieu to FOMO.

Perfect If: You’re ready to expand your musical horizons – but not yet ready to attend a crowded event.

THE FILM: Marvel Studios’ Eternals

We know, we know. Just what the world needs, another superhero film. Cue the eyerolls. But wait, before you tune us out, perhaps we can interest you in the fact that this latest from Marvel studios was directed by Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao of Nomadland fame? Or that it boasts an all-new team of superheroes played by a diverse and star-powered cast including Gemma Chan, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harington and Harry Styles? Or that it has aliens? Yeah, that’s what we thought.

Perfect If: You’ve got a bit of superhero fatigue, but you can rally for what looks to be an intriguing and original film hitting theatres on 5 November.

THE ANNIVERSARY: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

For those of us who grew up reading and watching the epic adventures of The Boy Who Lived, Harry Potter hasn’t aged a day. But in our world of mere muggles, 20 years have passed since the release of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first film in the eight-part series based on the beloved books by JK Rowling. Whether you’re a Hogwarts-robe-wearing Potterhead or a casual fan who appreciates an immersive battle between good and evil, celebrate the occasion by throwing a Harry Potter party this month to relive the magic. Invite a few friends, set out some HP-inspired treats, play a few enchanting games, and of course end the night with the grand finale: a screening of the iconic film. Don’t forget to sort yourselves into the proper Hogwarts houses, too!

Perfect If: You wish you could simply wave a wand and go back to discover the wizarding world for the first time, all over again.

THE SHOW: Dexter: New Blood

Everyone’s favourite friendly serial killer is back. Dexter Morgan, the former blood spatter analyst, loving father and ethical executioner, is alive and well, having swapped the sunny climes of Florida for frigid Upstate New York where he’s working as a shopkeeper, dating the Chief of Police and keeping a low profile. That is, until a spree of killings and the unexpected arrival of his now-teenaged son threaten to upset his newfound peace – and awaken his urge to take a slice out of crime. Catch the 7 November premiere on Showtime.

Perfect If: You know it’s only a matter of time before Dexter’s Dark Passenger takes the wheel.

THE ACTIVITY: International Games Week

Not that we need an excuse to start playing a good game, but we’ll take one anyway: 7-13 November happens to mark International Games Week. Perfect, considering that many of us, stuck in our homes for days on end over the past 18 months or so, have already rediscovered the fun of an engaging, good old-fashioned board game. Oh, the rabid scrabbling for position and the sweet taste of victory! International Games Week is not only about competition, though, rather focusing on the educational, recreational and social value of playing games with friends and family. So join in the fun! Check out the event’s official website to find print-and-play games as well as virtual gaming resources to get you started.

Perfect If: You would like to get in the game, any game.

THE CAUSE: World Kindness Day

The stresses of the past year seem to have brought out the worst in many of us, whether it was tussling over toilet paper in the supermarket, quarrelling with our quarantine comrades or giving our internet provider an earful when the network was briefly down. It happens to the best of us. Let World Kindness Day, observed on 13 November, act as a reminder that even the smallest gestures of goodwill can make a big impact – and make you feel good, too. Send someone an uplifting message. Compliment a friend, family member or coworker. Pay for the order of the person in front of you at the coffee shop. Give a service person a genuine smile and ‘thank you’ – and extra tip. Looking for more ideas to spread the love? We’ve got a few.

Perfect If: The thought of setting off a butterfly effect of compassion, tolerance and generosity gives you, well, butterflies.

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