How I rent

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The British obsession with owning property (a house, and a *family* home) is well known but there are some really innovative discussions out there right now about what home might look like.

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How_I_rent is an account started by @grillodesigns (author of a book of the same name), who rents herself to show how even rented accommodation can be made personal and individual. Peelable wallpaper, tips for no-nails gallery walls, plants, throws: it’s so refreshing and it’s actively addressing the stigma around renting.

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If this had been set up a few years ago it would have been glossy influencers talking about their starter flat before buying properly; in a few years this might be a trend exploited by companies to get millennials “used to” the idea that they’ll never own in the way their parents did. But as it is, it’s joyful, authentic and full of gorgeous places.

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Equally fun is this great series called “Single Women and their Spaces”, a somewhat misleading title in that it covers single or divorced mothers as well as single and happy about it women and travellers, but it’s also nice to see interviews with women about something other than how they chose paint colours for the childrens’ rooms and who cooks most in the kitchen. Here are a couple of taster articles from Tennessee or Lisbon.

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Photos of Charlotte Jacklin, Heartzeena and Emma Jane Palin’s flats (two of EJP’s bathroom – proof that paint can make a huge difference.)

Potocki Palace

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The Potocki Palace in Lviv was built in the late 1880s, on what was then the outskirts of town. Initially it was surrounded by spare grounds, but pretty quickly those were built on and by the end of the following decade the palace faces onto the bustling Copernicus street.

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Its ill luck didn’t stop there – an American stunt pilot crashed into into in 1919, and it only finished being rebuilt in 1923 for a fire to break out and then, not much later, the Nazis and Soviets each in turn commandeered it.

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However it’s bern sensitively restored and you wouldn’t know that it had suffered all those travails unless you read the guidebook. Looking ready for a Rothschild, it stands open to tourists for a mere 70 UAH (£2).

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Lviv on the streets

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Streets, the opera house, street murals – May 2019.

The word “influencer” doesn’t have the best rep: the one doing the influencing comes across as manipulative, the influences as brainwashed. However an influencer has led me to the best skincare (Lixir), high quality beauty on the cheap (Beautypie), clothes and books I love…and even travel I wouldn’t have thought of. Sure, I’m a big fan of Olia Hercules and her cooking, but it wasn’t till the blogger Agnieska posted views from her own trip to Lviv that I was actually inspired to go the Ukraine. I’m so glad I did, and if you’re interested in more east European travel then I’d definitely recommend Agi’s Instagram feed.

South Asian super girls

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There’s already been Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, but this book – published by the charity Pink Ladoo (that encourages south Asian mothers to celebrate the birth of their daughters and push back at prejudice that ladoos (sweets) should only be gifted for a boy’s birth) looks equally good. I’m guessing there’ll be a hefty amount of intersectionalism around anti-colonialism and feminism too.

East and West

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Excited to read that Penguin Classics are republishing four Asian-American authors from the 20th century. Each of the books (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino) sounds so good and also so pertinent to today’s issues that I’d want to read them all.