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Hello Again...

Can you believe it's been two years since I last sent out a newsletter? It really doesn't feel like that long, but I guess 2020 has shown us that time moves both quickly and really slowly at the same time. 
 
Some of you may be old subscribers wondering why this thing is creeping back into your inboxes, and some of you newer subscribers may who have no idea of what this once was.

Why now? Honestly, there is no specific reason apart from I really liked doing it before, which begs the question of why I ever stopped. I think self-doubt crept in, and when things fall by the wayside, it can be doubly hard to pick them back up. 

As for the rebrand? Well, so much has changed since my last newsletter. Getting married and turning 30 were just a few milestones, but since it's been two years a fresh start seems called for.  So this is no longer called Major Mondays but instead That's Pretty Major, inspired by the song Can't Get Enough Of Myself by Santigold. The idea is that this is a collection of some of my favourite things of the month – things that are 'pretty major'. 

Overall, the content will be quite similar to what some of you may remember: a collection of some of my faves, particularly things that make me feel creatively inspired. Predominantly, it will be female creators, makers, and all-round wonderful doers who are bringing great things into the world and deserve to rise up. While we're making progress on celebrating women's achievements, these celebrations often come as an afterthought, more often then through not lists that include a token women amongst a list of men. That goes double for women making music and for women of colour in pretty much any field, and I want to use this space to champion change.

Remember, if you want to share anything you have been loving then you can download the That's Pretty Major Instagram Stories template to share what you have been enjoying to keep you creatively inspired. And don't forget to tag me @dominique.major – I'd love to see what's inspiring you.

Thanks for reading, and let's see what this newsletter has to offer this month. 
Is Waxahatchee's cover art not the most beautiful album cover ever?
I think we all agree that 2020 has been, for the most part, a shit year. But one positive thing to come out of this year has been great album releases, particularly from women. 

I'm assuming most of these albums have been on rotation for most of you but just in case you've missed them here are some of my favourites.
  • My top lockdown album has to be Saint Cloud by Waxahatchee. Released back in March, this album has got me through lockdown. The album is raw emotion embodied, and the way each perfect track flows together makes it hard to listen to just one song. Instead you will find yourself drawn into the whole thing – normally I'm an album shuffler, but not when it comes to Saint Cloud. Writer Jia Tolentino summed it up in this tweet, saying this album is like "a long conversation on a road trip with a friend". Time for one song? Make it Lilacs.
  • Dance classes and lockdown gigs where they sing you happy birthday have made Haim my true shining stars this year. Oh, and they released a banging album. If you haven't listened to Women in Music Part III, stop reading right now and go do it! My top song pick: The Steps.
  • As we were all lying on the sofa feeling sorry for ourselves, of course Taylor Swift was working away. This time she blessed us with surprise album Folklore. Perfect background music while you work from home. Skip to Invisible String.
  • My final recommendation is one that you may not have listened to: Sawayama by Japanese-born British artist Rina Sawayama. I stumbled upon Rina after reading an article by Vice's Zing Tsjeng on her shocking ineligibility for the Mercury Prize due to not being born in the UK, despite living here for some 25 years. As for the album, Sawayama is the most ideal mash-up of so many genres, no song is alike – think heavy metal, R&B, dance and bubblegum pop can't be mashed together in the same song, let alone album? Sawayama's genius will make you think again. Hard choice but if you have time for one, make it Paradisin'. 

I've created a playlist to go with this month's recommendations which you can listen to here
 
If you follow me over on Instagram you will have seen me updating my stories with the books I've read this year. Having more free time has given me more time to dedicate to my reading, and setting myself the goal of 50 books by the end of the year has really kept me motivated. 

I often get a lot of questions about how I've managed to get through so many books, so before I give you my top tips I have to preface this by saying being a fast reader really helps. So too has been having a goal, and trying to read 'little but often'. I've also been using the Libby app, which is linked with my local library and has allowed me to access a whole world of books that I didn't have a physical copy of to hand. All for free!

If you want to see everything I have read this year take a look at my Goodreads. Here are my top picks from this year's list. 
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiely Reid: Imagine your debut novel being this good. Reid's book explores race and how it intertwines with the complexities of friendship, class, motherhood and so much more. This book gripped me and, I warn you, made me cry. 
  • Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas: If you're in any way interested in fashion, clothes, and the environment then you will have your eyes opened by this book.
  • Weather by Jenny Offill: It's hard to pinpoint why I enjoyed this book, but ultimately it stuck with me because Offill's writing forced me to pay attention page after page. 
  • We Need New Stories: Challenging Toxic Myths Behind Our Age of Discontent by Nesrine Malik: I love a book that makes you stop and think, and Malik's book does just that. It's wide-ranging, but centres on how the myths we tell ourselves about our society hold us back from making the progress we need for a more equal world – with tangible ways to solve those very problems too.
  • Educated by Tara Westover: This book had been on my list for a while just because of the sheer number of recommendations I was seeing online. Westover opens your eyes to how lives can be so different from your own, and how simple things that you take for granted are not the norm for everyone. 
In A Mood 
I'm a huge mood board fan, so here are some things I have been loving.

It won't come as a surprise that my love affair with the boiler suit is not over. I'm concocting a plan to sew my own using the Closet Core Patterns Blanca (inspo provided by this image). I'm also dabbling with the idea of adding some text to the back. Imagine it paired with these dreamy Nikes! Outfit perfection.

Slip dresses serve as an easy wardrobe staple. I love this cowl neck Sicily version from Sewing Patterns by Masin. Imagine it in this Liberty fabric! Slip dresses aside, I can't get enough of collars, this white dress worn by @alyssainthecity is heaven. 

I keep being drawn to the two-tone collections from Paloma Wool and have been loving the Bi Colour Jacket that they have in stock. Perhaps even with a matching skirt – because if you can make it a two piece then why not, right? And I'm (obviously) thinking pink and green, the ultimate colour combo. 

 
More From Me 
Come find me on Instagram at @dominique.major, where I'm always sharing my latest makes and faves. Have you seen my latest make, the Lucida from Friday Pattern Company? I made it in this lemon fabric gifted from by Graziela Fabrics, who have recently launched their fun fabrics in the UK. 
This month I'm all about pushing myself out of my comfort zone. In lockdown, I've been creating some designs to share with the world, and so I have set up an Etsy store, which you can find here. I think the prints make the perfect pop of colourful inspo for your sewing or living spaces. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!
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That's Pretty Major · Hampton Road · Teddington · Teddington, TW11 0JF · United Kingdom

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