life

Loving & loathing for May

May 3, 2017

The 2017 edition…

IN

Sheridan bed linen. Am forming a theory that this stuff is the bomb. It’s not cheap but the good news is they frequently have sales, and they have outlets too. Free shipping & you can use Afterpay to do installments too. It’s very VERY nice for sleeping in. They don’t do colourful funky prints or any of that jazz. But I guess that’s what throw pillows are for…

Heinz Seriously Good Original Mayonnaise. Dear reader, if you are enamoured of mayo like I am, please give this a go and dip your chips in it. Better that Best, I swear. Comes in handy squeeze bottle. Made in NZ, like all good things.

Moana. I LOVE this movie right now. This song –

– legit gives me goosebumps & frequently brings tears to my eyes. It’s crazy. I first watched it when I was sick, and I cried! It gives me all the feels.

OUT

My sweet tooth. Have you seen it? I appear to have lost it recently and I am missing it muchly. Is this what happens when you get old? Will it come back?

Gin & tonics. I’m sorry gin, but it’s time to break out the red wine… see you in spring.

paper + screen

Reading list, 2017 so far

May 1, 2017

I was just looking back at some old journal/blog posts of mine, and my 2011 reading list blew my mind. I read, like, a million books. Largely because we spent 3 months travelling (oh so much reading time!) – I felt very jealous of my 2011 Self. I have only read FIVE books this year so far. So. I am making a May Resolution (it’s a thing, I swear) to Read Moar. And also to jot down a little thought about each book because it’s surprisingly helpful & interesting for my Later Self to read what my Current Self thought of them.

Life or Death by Michael Robotham

A bit Shawshank Redemption-y by this Aussie author (except not set in Australia) about a convict who escapes from prison the day before he’s scheduled to be released, and the unfolding story of how he ended up behind bars and what his mission is on the outside. Gripping, good cast of characters, solid pacing.

Into Everywhere by Paul McAuley

Sequel to Something Coming Through, which was one of my favourite reads last year. Although whhyyy do these books have such awful covers! otherwise I’d buy them both in the dead tree version for my shelf. Sci-fi. First-contact-ish crossed with a bit of space opera, touch of planetary colonisation. Two POVs, one of which I preferred over the other, telling stories that start off separate and then intersect. I love stories about humans on new worlds and love the way he’s imagined how humanity would colonise new planets – a modern wild west frontier. I also liked how he clearly wrote a world with a particular cultural background but as it was written from the POV of a person within that background, it wasn’t actually remarked upon.

The Empress Game by Rhonda Mason

I really wanted to love this because it has all the components I want in a book right now – space opera, awesome female protag, fight scenes, politics, romantic suspense – but it just didn’t click with me. I still enjoyed it a lot but perhaps not as much as I expected to.

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin

I wasn’t a fan of the first few pages of this BUT I’m glad I kept on because then it got hotdamn awesome and I was all, okaaaay no wonder this won the Hugo. Then after I finished it I re-read the start bit & enjoyed it that time. Loved loved LOVED. So different. So clever. Especially liked that it’s written in both third-person present and second-person present. Cannot wait to read the next one, which is sitting pretty on my to-read pile.

Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Hurrah for Star Wars stories and stories by Chuck Wendig! And hurrah for more third-person present tense. This guy really knows how to ratchet up and maintain pace and tension. I find that although there isn’t a great deal of description, he still manages to create a very visual scene of action. This definitely does not deserve its rating on Amazon. Some sad fanboys must be throwing their toys a bit?

life

A movie, a birthday, a jersey

April 26, 2017

We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 on Monday night and you guys! It was so enjoyable, I had such a good time watching it. Really funny and satisfying. I didn’t have high expectations for it, tbh, I suppose because it’s a sequel and the first one was so – different & surprising – still, I thought it would be fun, and worthwhile seeing on the big screen (The Mr & I don’t get so many opportunities to go to the movies these days!) – it definitely exceeded my expectations. I laffed. Oh yeah. I was that lady cackling away over her choc top.

So, it’s funny – and it’s emotional, cashing in on some of the info & connections built in the previous film. Our awesome fivesome are joined by some new & old peeps. Elizabeth Debicki is fabulous as the high priestess. A thick layer of gold paint only makes her innate stature even more haughty. I hope she sticks around for the next one. Pom Klementieff as Mantis, with her lack of socialisation, is the perfect character played alongside the very literal Drax.

Go see it, it’s good fun. So much better than the last Marvel films I’ve seen: Avengers FiftyBillion (that’d be the number of characters in it, not the sequel number) or Dr Strange (snoooooozefest).

***

It’s my smallest progeny’s first birthday next week. Yes I know! That year flewww past. Every parent says that. Because it’s true, they fly by like flying things. He is the most delicious creature right now but as my MIL points out, they’re designed that way. It’s evolutionary, yeah, so we keep procreating. If they leapt right into 3 year olds, the human race would swiftly die out. I look at my sweet little boy and I think, heaven help me, he’s going to be a 3 year old one day… O_o

This chocolate chiffon cake is the cake I’m going to make for his little party on the weekend. It’s a humungous recipe, suitable for feeding The Masses, but I think I will stuff it full of cream and lather on some buttercream icing instead of doing the salted caramel. My test bake was very promising, so I’d highly recommend this if you’re looking for a MASSIVE CAKE. Get yourself a 25cm tin and line it high with baking paper, my bakerly friends.

***

Finally it’s looking like Melbourne is ready to pull autumn on for good, so I’m getting to that stage where you stand in front of all your clothes every morning and think, this is not good. this shit is just not going to fly.

C’mon I know that doesn’t just happen to me every 6 months!

I had this vague hope that my personal fashion concept this year would extend beyond Jeans + T-shirt + Mum-Bun Hair. But how I can apply this practically, when I have no time to shop & try on clothes, is the tricksy bit. Also my hair is doing that I-have-a-12-month-old-baby thing, where it’s half grown back and half still falling out, lanky and ick and frizzy. That means bun-time, all the time.

I should buy some hats.

Anyway, I did pick up this super cute jersey a couple of weekends ago from French Connection, so at least I have one thing that I’m happy about wearing in the colder weather… and look! if you like it too, it’s currently on sale. And ooh, doesn’t it look good with a cute hat?

life

A slice of life

April 10, 2017

Monday afternoon.
It’s raining + windy + grim outside.
I think we got all of April’s rain in the last 24 hours. And it’s been lovely. Very autumnal. The first cold of the season always is! (Then it keeps on keeping on, and I quickly turn to despair, and I’ll look back at this and be all WHAT WAS I THINKING)
We’re all holed up inside wearing standard dresscode (gruglies).
There are toys on literally every surface.
And you should know I don’t use the word ‘literally’ lightly.
(A little lightly)
It’s hazardous.
There’s been puzzles, playdough, baking, blocks. The careful application of toys to every surface of the house.
I wrote some words in naptime. And did a million loads of laundry.
And tonight we’re going to have a hunk of roast lamb, with a mountain of crispy roast potatoes, all drowned in gravy (I make a good gravy. This is, I think, an inherited trait. Come over sometime & I’ll show you how to make Freakin Awesome Proper Gravy.)
Hope your Monday is going just as swimmingly.

random

Thesaurus brain

March 21, 2017
Stop using pop of colour

You know how people get this irrational hatred for certain celebrities? I kind of get that with phrases. Only mine is rational. Totally rational. Because they’re being overused*.

So, here are my offending articles of wordisms, in approximate order of offensiveness:

  • Pop of colour.
  • On point. On fleek.
  • Genius.
  • [Something] is my spirit animal
  • To be obsessed with [something]

Please stop. Please just stop. It’s like Phrase Bingo For LadyBlogging101. Basic Pinterest For The Masses.

NO MORE POPS OF COLOUR FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS KALEIDOSCOPIC.

Last year, in a fit of creative & maybe-a-tad-over-the-top rage, I came up with some alternatives for “pop of colour”, which I would fondly like to offer below. Please feel free to mock me. Or even use one of these alternatives:

Splash of colour
Dash of colour
Sprinkling of colour
Glimmering of colour
Seedy undercurrent of colour
Zing of colour
Zip of colour
Tiddlybit of colour
Burst of colour
Garnish of colour
Tang of colour
Wash of colour
Peppering of colour
Salting of colour
Savagery of colour
Fizz of colour
Flibbertigibbet of colour

Then I started thinking about “on point/on fleek” (par example: “daymn your blush-coloured cold-shoulder top and matte-greige stiletto nails are on point, girl!”) which is not quite as grating but still gets stuck in my ears like bits of word-shaped gravel. How about (using, naturally, your hat as the exciting style choice in question):

Your hat… looks nice
Your hat… is awesome
Your hat… is admirably trendy, my friend
Your hat… is so hot right now (best spoken out loud in Zoolander accent)
Your hat… is super impressive
Your hat… is hotdizzle, yo
Your hat… makes me feel all the feelings
I like your hat

Feel free to pin for future reference. Or mock me. Whichever comes more naturally.

As for “genius” – I would like to suggest “clever”. Or even “actually rather unremarkable”. Unless of course you are talking about very clever people, and NOT ways in which to clean your kitchen sink using baking soda, or organising cans of condensed soup in your pantry, or gluing rocks together to make stylish unique table centerpieces. In which case, I beg your pardon.

Albert Einstein. Legit Genius.

“careful with your pops of colours round this chick, guys”

Soo… I’m going to end this here before my ranting segues into the True Uselessness Of Baking Soda, or Why Household Organisation Is An Unachievable Unicorn Goal. Clearly I need to step away from The Pinterest if only for the good of my blood pressure.

Till next time, dear reader! Enjoy your tiddlywinks of colour.

* Disclaimer: this might be because I spend way too much time on Pinterest & blogs, which appears to the native habitats for the so-called offending phrases.

writing

Infinite homework report

March 14, 2017
my desk, where the infinite homework happens

It’s been *coughcoughmumble* since I did one of these updates. Luckily these things aren’t graded, huh.

Although honestly, there isn’t much to say about my infinite homework except: toiling ever onwards. Neil Gaiman said: “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy and that hard.”

So bloody true.

However, I am now practically finished with Silver & Iron. I know, I know. I’ve been saying that for a while. This time I really truly am. For reals. Honestly. Well… as finished as I think I can be. At some point, you have to stick a fork in it, right? And we’ve passed a lot of points by now. I wrote a first draft, then completely rewrote a third of it (30k words trunked, ouch), then I did a substantive edit (meaty stuff) followed by continuity corrections and then a line edit (wordy stuff)… I changed a few names, and did a few spellchecks. And here I am. I want to do one more pass — because I haven’t read it yet, from start to finish, like a reader — but I’m feeling ready to push this little sucker out of the nest and start hatching something new. Of course I could just keep rewriting, and rewriting. And rewriting. But for the sake of my sanity, I need to take what I’ve learned and apply it. Forward motion. Good luck, little book.

Future WIPs

Contenders… in their corners:

Space opera triology – a planetary civil war generations in the waging. Spies, mercenaries, phaser fights, human-AI hybrids, a hidden queen. But also buddy fiction. in space. With themes of motherhood, and autonomy, and choosing your own fate. I’ve been doodling on this idea for years now and think The Time Has Come.

Multiverse love story – two people meant for each other meet in a place where the the gap between worlds is stretched thin. In another world, they’ve already met. Lives that intersect, reflect, parallel. It’s like my Time Travellers Wife story. It’s percolating. I don’t think I’m ready to write this yet, not the way I want it to be told.

Some kind of post apocalyptic tale – just not sure what my spin is yet.

Sequel(s) to Silver & Iron – because I’ve left it open, and I have an outline of where Rukan goes next. My mood board includes: immortality, sacrificing for love, carrion eating slugs, thermal hot pools surrounded by snow, fur, bearded dudes, perfume, canals, fungi grown in hinterland caves. However aforementioned sanity requires me to take a break from her world for the time being.

Shortie shorts

I do really want to finish “A Swim with Bede”… maybe I’ll be able to, once the book is out of my hair. I still like it, even after all this time… it still makes me smile!

life

Loving & loathing for March-even-though-it’s-almost-April-already-eep

March 11, 2017

The 2017 edition…

IN

Gin & tonics. Funny thing about Melbourne. The weather. Ticked over March and Melbourne’s like, WAIT WHAT DID I FORGET TO DO SUMMER? *throws about buckets of sunshine, gentle breezes, & blue skies* WHOOPS MY BAD. So we are having gin & tonics these days, with plenty of fat lemons squeezed to death in the Lemon Tongs of Doom – no, I kid, we gently massacre a wedge into each glass instead, the Doom Tongs are for General Cookery, not cocktails…

Landscaping. I look out our windows and see painted fences (Monument btw- highly recommended) and olive trees and happy green plants and sweet jasmine and bloodthirsty lawn seeking to take over our entire block, and I am content. This is still an IN even though we got it done in January. I bask.

Marshmallow easter eggs. These will be the death of me. It’s not even Easter yet! Argh. Please stop me. Anyone. Please. Nobody? Oh, okay then. *nom nom nom*

Logan. Oh gosh this was a very good film. Less superhero origin movies, more superhero finale movies, thank you. All gritty and brutal and Westernesque, No Country For Old Men with a sprinkling of Mad Max.

OUT

Reading. I am doing a poor job of reading so far this year, having only read three books. THREE! Yikes. I’d read 10 books by this time last year. I need to do less Gilmore-Girls-back-catalogue-watching, and more kindle-gazing.

Hass avocados. It’s the season for Shepard avocados now, which I personally believe to be The Inferior Cousin of the Hass. Sure it’s nice how green they stay, but they’re tasteless in comparison. We’ve hit pause on the guacamole days, team.

life

2016 in review & looking forward to 2017

January 24, 2017
2016 in review - my boys

I like how I manage to get these posts up in January…. juuust.

Reading

I read 29 books in 2016. I was so! close! to finishing 30 books but the last one – Life or Death by Michael Robotham – ended up spilling over into January.

I had NO re-reads and NO did-not-finishes. Entertaining new reads the entire year! Goal = tick.

I very much enjoyed the books by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) in the Cormoran Strike series. And I don’t even usually read crime. One of them in particular has lots of scenes set where I used to live in west London, which made for a very vivid read (& a moment of “why did he just take the tube when it would’ve been faster to walk?”). JK Rowling does plot very well, and I love her vivid descriptions of interesting characters.

The sci-fi Something Coming Through by Paul McAuley was fantastic, as was the post-apocalyptic Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.

I also finished a few series this year, reading the following books which are all the final books in trilogies: Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear, Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie, and City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin. (Lush, brilliant, and average, respectively.)

And I smashed the rest of Liane Moriarty’s back catalogue plus her latest novel. Lady better write the next one, stat.

Writing

Well… I had a baby. No, truthfully, I did get some writing done, but not as much as I would have liked. I embarked on edits of Silver & Iron, which I’m currently still doing. The.book.is.so.close.to.being.doneski.for.realski.

Goal: finish edits – finish completely! – by end of March. Including a query letter. Begin querying in April.

Then: write shiny new ideas that are shiny!

Personal

In 2016…
– I had another baby boy! And he’s wonderful. New people are wonderful. Boys are wonderful.
– We went to New Zealand for Christmas and I finally filled up my sadly empty Kiwiana Tank. Phew.
– My personal fashion concept could be described as Fat Preggo followed by Mum Uniform.
– We did not landscape. Boo.

This year, we have already smashed goal numero uno, which was landscape the back yard! It’s done! If I had written this post on time I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that, ha.

I would also like to figure out some kind of personal fashion concept that excites me. Because sometimes the t-shirts-with-holes-in-them and shorts (if it’s warm) or jeans (if it’s not warm) just… does not excite me.

House goals: Light fittings installed. Recover the awesome old chairs I got at a 2nd hand store. Sew some curtains. Furnish the TV room? Get cabinetry in the laundry? Paint the hallway wall. Wallpaper the toilet? Actually, I have a billion house goals, and only 12 months of the year…. Goal one: prioritise goals.