Loving & loathing for July

July 1, 2016
Loving & loathing for July 2016

The 2016 edition…


We has a front garden! With the shutters, driveway, fence, letterbox, path & gate our house actually looks like a finished house now… at least from the front… nevermind the backyard which currently resembles World War 1 France.

Pantry shelves. My dad built us some sweet custom joinery! He’s such a craftsman. Still need to get some baskets and finish off the Sorting Out Of Things, but I love having an organised pantry. Including a specialised nook for the breadmaker… which leads to…

Fresh bread! daily! Crunchy and crusty, soft and warm, with a thick smear of salty NZ butter. All you have to do is remember to set it up the night before, to wake up to the warm smell of baking bread filling the house in the morning.


Sleep. Not much of it round these parts lately. Eh. This is not unexpected!

Not getting shit done. Simply the reality of having a toddler and a newborn, but it’s hard to adjust to. (At least, even though I am sleep deprived, I have more energy now than when I was pregnant. This is nice.)

paper + screen

Some early books of 2016

February 5, 2016
Books I've read in January 2016

With much vigour, I threw myself into the task of reading last month. Funtertainment! quantity! being my goal. MOAR BOOKS THAN 2015. I drank down 6 entire books… which is a lot for me. Hopefully going towards a nestegg that’ll allow me to slack off in future months. Because I probably will when there is another sproglet in the housedom and my brain has LITERALLY SHRUNK and I am existing on 5 seconds of sleep + mugs of Nespresso by the dozen + pure hormonal bliss/despair and the most I will be able to concentrate on is Daily Mail headlines.

Kicking things off, I discovered Marian Keyes published a book in 2014 that I hadn’t read yet. 2014! How had I not known about it? Perhaps I was wrestling with The Luminaries at the time? Anyhoo for some reason, two years later, I stumbled across The Woman Who Stole My Life. Solid Marian Keyes story. Solid.

Twas followed by Brooklyn Girls: Coco by Gemma Burgess (if the Babysitters Club were all growed up & living in NYC & not babysitting anymore, sort of?) then Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty. Erm, cripes, only 2 of Liane Moriarty’s books left for me to read! Better save em for later.

Next I fell into Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear, which closes out The Eternal Sky trilogy. I read books 1 and 2 exactly two years ago so I had a wee bit of trouble to start off with remembering who was who & what was going on but oh gosh. It almost didn’t matter. This is lush, wonderful fantasy. I wish it went on forever. I wish there were more books like these ones.

Then I read Techbitch by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza (Devil Wears Prada goes digital) and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (80’s gamer geek wish fulfilment fiction!)


Loving & loathing for February

February 2, 2016
Loving & loathing for February

The 2016 edition…


Afternoon siestas. Thank you, Peppa Pig, for being such a great babysitter.

My new chair. This is my lovely writing chair *pats chair* Isn’t it lovely? I have been coveting this beauty for a couple of years and now we are – at last – in the new house, it was mine to snatch up (and on sale too!) Currently it is stationed at the kitchen table, awaiting delivery of my desk-slash-table. Ordered that from Freedom Furniture, which as you know, requires Chinese monks who have taken a vow of silence to climb a mountain under the light of a blue moon to chop down the timber by hand and then construct the table blindfolded before it is strapped to the back of pilot whales and ferried to Australia following the prevailing ocean currents. So, still a few weeks to go before that turns up. (Remind me not to order stuff from Freedom again.)

The Fridge. The marvelousness of being able to buy watermelon & bottles of sparkling water. Of only going to the supermarket once, maybe twice, a week. Appreciated.


The dustmudfest around our house. I’m soo sick of it. Can’t wait for a driveway, which I will hose down regularly with much reverence like a true blue Australian. (Actually I don’t know why Aussies hose their driveways so passionately. Is it the general dustiness of this grand sandy country? Are they just mad on concrete?)

Heat. I never thought I’d write this… ever… but I am actually looking forward to cooler weather. Turns out pregnancy & summer aren’t such great bedbuddies, even for a cold blooded creature like myself.

Restless legs. Insomnia. Difficulty reaching feet. General exhaustion. All that jazz, and more than 3 months still to go…


Exploring the hood: Pipemakers Park

January 22, 2016
Pipemakers Park exploration

One hot morning a couple of weeks ago, I threw the sproglet into the pram and pushed him across the bridge to see if we could reach the mall and by chance! discovered this weird, overgrown, dilapidated, wonderful space. Something about it made me think of the crumbling Oz as Dorothy rediscovered it, destroyed by Mombi & the Nome King. A post-apocalyptic park where scary critters might be hiding in the shade, history lost to tumbled stones. A place where old pipes stood on end to form a portico draped in unkempt grapevines, chipped mosaics led into the cracked concrete foundations of long-gone buildings, a fig tree drooped under the weight of green unripe fruit, birds sang in thorny bushes, old rail tracks went nowhere next to an overgrown dell, rusted signs stood watch beside wavy yellow grasses.

The park was built in the 1980s over the remains of old factories – meatworks, and pipeworks – and possibly has not been maintained since then. I was enchanted by its decrepitude, so I took my boys back there during the holidays to explore and have a picnic in the summery sun.

Pipemakers Park

Pipemakers Park

Pipemakers Park

A magnificent place to run around.

Pipemakers Park - mosaic

Lots of mosaics.

Old foundations

Pipemakers Park - old pipes

We ate raspberries and donuts in the shade of an arbor.

Pipemakers Park

Pipemakers Park - the meat trail

Found a few signs for the ‘Meat Trail’. Very intriguing…

Pipemakers Park

My favourite of these signs was barely legible, proclaiming the zone to be the ‘Garden of the Future’… well the Future is Now, and turns out it’s mostly weeds.

Pipemakers Park

Came across a mini caravan park where they must be doing some filming for the Reno Rumble TV show (remind me to watch it now) – what a lovely place to camp, beside the river!

There’s a free community bike workshop set up beside one of the old factory buildings, and lots of bike riders and walkers enjoying the riverside. But evenso, there’s something a little sinister about the park, with the quiet still, the ruins, the places to hide. That little thread of unease in the atmosphere only makes it a more interesting place to explore. I hope it doesn’t get fixed up any time soon.


2015 in review & looking forward to 2016

January 21, 2016
2015 a year in review, 2016 looking forward

It’s still January! So this post is still legit! I’m totally scraping it in.


I read 21 books in 2015. Not a great year but at least it was more than 2014 (although 2014 was skewed by The Luminaries which should really count for at least eight books, don’tcha think?)

Three were did-not-finishes.

Two were rereads (Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells).

I discovered Liane Moriarty in the latter months and burned through a bunch of her titles. Love her stuff. She’s a bit like an Australian Marian Keyes.

My favourite three reads were The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, The Passage by Justin Cronin, and Little Big Lies by Liane Moriarty.

This year, I want to READ MOAR. I’m going for quantity, and for entertainment. I’m thinking about fun, about popular fiction, rollicking sci-fi and engrossing fantasy. I will limit my threshold for boringness. If a book isn’t gripping me within the first few chapters, I’ll be moving on – no wasting time ignoring it and reading magazines instead…


I edited and finished Silver & Iron (erm, mostly) (previously known as Rukan). I mean, holy shit. A book practically completed – the first one I’ve ever got to this point – that’s a pretty big win for the year. Nothing else got done. A few meandering thoughts on other stories, some poking at short pieces. I was consumed by that book.

This year, I want to send Silver & Iron out into the big wide world. And I want to get a sizeable chunk written on the first draft of my next story. It’d be nice to do more… a short story or two, a finished first draft… but I’m trying to be realistic about my capability.


In 2015…
– We built and moved into our new house!
– My personal fashion concept could be described as STAGNANT. With a side of Mum Bun Hair.
– I lost a pregnancy 🙁
– I did some adult beginner ballet lessons & luffed them
– I suffered some serious New Zealand homesickness
– My sister briefly lived in the same city as me (yay!) and then moved (boo!)

This year, I want to get the driveway, landscaping and window furnishings completed for our house. Hopefully also: a few light fittings in, and some cabinetry.
And I would like to just, at least, try – a little bit – to get regular haircuts like a normal person. And get some new boots come winter where the zips actually zip.
And we are expecting another sproglet now, which is sure to throw a spanner into the works of all the aforementioned goals…!


December like woah

December 16, 2015
Christmas tree in the new house, 2015

We have MOVED!
What a crazy busy wonderful time of year this is.
I went to Sydney to see a friend for a couple of days. There were Christmas parties and presents, birthdays, packing up, moving, unpacking, cleaning the old flat, and multiple trips to Bunnings. I pretty much took out a second mortgage with AusPost, sending parcels all over the world.
Perhaps the very first thing I unpacked in the new house was the Christmas tree…
It’s currently filling up a spare corner of the living room. The place will probably look a bit more empty come January when it is time to pack it up.
Outside our house is a desert of dust and rock and weeds.
We have people coming to quote for driveway, paths, decking, blinds. I just want to get the outside done and then we will be more comfortable here.
Master J is learning to ride his scooter up and down the long hallway. Needless to say, he’s loving the extra space. I am too. I can’t wait to get my study set up with my own desk and comfortable chair – it will be the place of Many Great Words…


More forks

November 17, 2015
stick a fork in it, it's done

Rukan – currently titled Silver & Iron and that’s totally the best I can come up with considering my utter inability to find titles for shit – has crept even closer to finishdom. This draftski is doneski as of yesterday. 106,000-odd words, start to finish, only one tiny (teeny! itty bitty! I swear!) bit that needs filling in.

But enough! for now.

I’ve never got so far in completing a book before – so I don’t know if this will happen every time – but by gum*, I hate working on this story. Literally have been forcing myself. Every single minute. We are too close. I want to punch it in the guts and tell it to get out of my face. It’s mouth breathing all over me. Gah.

So as per my latest plan, I’m going to print this sucker out, stick it in a folder with a new red pen, and set it aside for a couple of months. Let it slip out of my brain a little bit… let my brain focus on a totally new and different story instead. Refreshing! I’m so excited! New story! Eeeee.

Give me and Rukan some space, some distance.

Then come (February?) I shall uncap that red pen, get work on a bit of spit & polish, and finish this story up for good. With fresher hopefully-not-so-hateful eyes. Oh, and the accompanying query letter (which is drafted – still a bit long I think – christ these things are hard to write). And then we will see what the world makes of it.

I sort of feel accomplished and excited at this point but not as satisfied as I guess I’d hoped. Writing this story has taken me too long. It’s lost all its shine. I don’t even know how crap it really is: I can’t SEE it anymore. But at least I can still appreciate the effort I’ve put into it, even if I can’t love it as a story anymore.

I’m mostly looking forward to writing something completely different right now…

* by gum?! I don’t even know where that came from. Pretty sure have not been reading any old school detective novels or such.


Loving & loathing for November

November 9, 2015
Calendar for November 2015 and vase of flowers

The 2015 edition…


PROBABLY moving house this month! Floors are being done this week. Painting touch ups next week. Then final inspection, I guess… then last payment & handover of keys!

Ladies, a plate. I got this book for my birthday – I’ve been eyeing it up for years now – and am enjoying baking some classic & delicious Kiwi goodies. Anzacs, afghans, ginger crunch. Nom!

Christmas candles. It’s not too early for the festive sweet spice of Christmas! This year I snagged one of the ‘Christmas Pine’ candles by Peppermint Grove. It’s a scent designed for a warm summer Australian-style Christmas, just what I’m looking for.


Moving house. Oh god. I have never had to pack up & move a whole house before. Let alone with a toddler. Eek.

Uncompleted novels. I didn’t quite meet my goal of finishing Rukan in October (boy did that end up a busy month). It only needs a few more days work though. I’m suuuuuper close.