Thursday, 10 January 2019

150+ things I did in 2018



  1. Saw the new year in with S,G,SO, Z, N,
  2. C's Studio 54 Birthday Party
  3. First date of 2018
  4. Joined a gym
  5. Hang out at Zs house with F, N and NS
  6. Got a filling
  7. Started Level 1 BSL
  8. Work pub quiz
  9. Caught a mouse
  10. Visit from CJ
  11. Graddaughters dinner K,K,M,N,P+P(honored guest)
  12. Catch up with NL
  13. Deaf pub meet up
  14. Date with CE Tootoomoo
  15. Catch up with KE On the Bab
  16. Rumpus Dhal and Dali  S, MB, Z
  17. 6 mile hike London Loop K, P, I, D
  18. Brunch with CE!
  19. Dinner with CE Bang Bang before dancing (Restaurant)
  20. The Comedy about a Robbery with M, S, MB, Z
  21. Catch up with DS
  22. Amadeus lone theatre trip 
  23. Accidentaly broke my chocolate streak. Twice. 
  24. Z drinks
  25. If you like southbank adventures, and getting caught in the rain ... F+E
  26. Truth or Drink CE
  27. First Camber rehearsal
  28. Bun House and Members Bar with S
  29. Baked Bread!
  30. Did spring weeding in the garden
  31. Caturday and Mario Cart hang out with A, C, J and the Kittehs
  32. Tried to sort out my Pension
  33. Dinner at Bala Baya with K and BFI Romy & Michelle's High
  34. Neverland immersive theatre night with BW, N, Z, S, MB
  35. BSL Unit 101 Assessment 
  36. Walk to Alexandra Palace with Z, N, S, T, 
  37. Zs leaving days made raspberry cheesecake 
  38. Snow week
  39. Break up with CE
  40. Blackpool World Modern Jive Dance Competition 4th place advanced with RS. 2nd place in Advanced Jack and Jill. Handed over BOTS title to Z and S.
  41. Last dance with Z, Z ring of fire, much much crying 
  42. Family Dinner @ Yosma
  43. Red Sun Dinner with work 
  44. Camber Storm
  45. Hang out on the Melnes with P, M and N
  46. Deaf pub meet up 
  47. Boat sitting adventure in the Snow plus visit from K & P 
  48. Bun House and catch up with M 
  49. MotherMash and catch up with K 
  50. Lunch with cousins K, M, K  
  51. Congratulations DA and SA, now man and wife
  52. Long lazy hang out with A and C
  53. Bonnie Gull Dinner out 
  54. Flu
  55. Bath adventure. Foxhill BnB Sully Lunns breakfast, Uni Lake walk, muddy adventure, Spa. Roman Baths, Jane Austen centre, Riding lesson. Weston Super Mare, hang out with M, F, E
  56. Ikea trip with N & N. Got fruit bowl stuck on head. 
  57. Rumpus Fools Ghools and Jewels with A&C, S&MB
  58. First opera - Marriage of Figaro
  59. Dog sitting Winter
  60. WBY Girls night
  61. Picnic for London Loop Litter Pick
  62. Manon Ballet
  63. London Ceroc Champs - 3rd place with RS in All Stars Mids,  9th place Top Cats!
  64. Post Champs massage
  65. Birthday BBQ 
  66. Cleaning N's new house 
  67. Visit Miami, held a snake, day drinking, memorial day, modern art museum, hot dog BBQ, caught in the rain, mousse maki fusion dinner, drunken cooking, birthday cake for breakfast, sun burnt, trolley bus, 
  68. Rumpus: Rainbows and Rayguns S&MB, M
  69. Helping P&K at Wedding
  70. BSL Unit 2 exam. 
  71. Date with E in Hyde Park. Spinning Poi more fun. 
  72. Trampolining with Cousins and Brunch. 
  73. Housewarming BBQ w/ GA and N
  74. Marylebone Street Fayre Dancing!
  75. Birthday hangout with K&P Biriyani and cake :D
  76. IBZ trip with work
  77. Northern Champs: 5th Lucky Dip with Jay, 4th Top cats amateur, 4th Fix Freestyle RS, 2nd ProAm MW
  78. Massage at home on day off. 
  79. Unit 3 BSL Final exam
  80. N house for dinner and movie. YAY visitors! Midnight deer feeding run. Serious foxy fear.
  81. First Park run 5K 37:54 mins :D 
  82. Armed Forces Day Parade and Gardening at Ns House
  83. WCS in Taunton with F
  84. Gromit hunting with E & F splashing in the fountain. "In the middle" signing and learning to say Fffffffish!
  85. Summer cold ugh
  86. Granddaughters dinner with N&P, K&P
  87. Swan Lake Great Masked Ball with N,S,MB
  88. Dinner with KE at NY fold
  89. Park run! 37:04 mins
  90. WaterPoet pub for LL
  91. Hyper Japan with DS
  92. Revamping CV 2018
  93. Chase the sun run 36:02
  94. Incredibles II and catch up with HR
  95. Volunteering at Highbury Fields park run
  96. Cat and boat sitting for the week. Visit from MK 
  97. Phone call in the park
  98. Dinner and catch up with MK
  99. SO's birthday indoor picnic
  100. Finsbury Park Park run: 36:28
  101. Boat invasion dilema
  102. Park run 37:06
  103. Take home task
  104. Back injury! 
  105. Cat Sitting again 
  106. Z in UK
  107. Bristol tea dance with Z, N
  108. Cake gate
  109. Picnic in the park
  110. BSL catch up H &A
  111. Zurich trip to visit ACB hair dye bedroom painting spa friendly dinners glacial waters sunbathing chocolate & pizza
  112. Mugen dinner with DS, LN, S
  113. CE and DL
  114. Park run 36:46
  115. Doctors and Dentist (filling)
  116. Meeting Babbis 
  117. Boxfit class 
  118. Visit Ks new house Snackistan
  119. Park run 37:14
  120. Fried chicken date with KE
  121. Birthday weekend in Bristol F, N, E, M 
  122. Drinks with Trash. :D
  123. Park run PB 33:52
  124. Made shoe wings for Rumpus with N
  125. Bristol Tea Dance with N, F, E, M
  126. Street Jazz class
  127. Welsh Champs Top 6 in Advanced, 1st in lucky dip, Top 6 in Pro Am
  128. Work Appraisal
  129. Off sick (depression)
  130. Silc Workshop w/ RS
  131. Mushroom hunt with K, I, P, D
  132. Trip to visit Turkey Bonus trip to Cyprus. Job applications
  133. Kiln for Dinner with KE
  134. C&A Halloween Party - Wore Rumpus outfit (Mercury/Hermes)
  135. Probono dance lesson for E&S
  136. Interviews with L and SW
  137. Date night M & Date night M
  138. Dinner with DS
  139. Midnight showing of Fantastic Beasts
  140. Swing V experience 
  141. Literary evening with N
  142. Driving lesson with N
  143. Birthday dinner with ME
  144. Roast and hang our with C&A
  145. House sitting at home in Turkey
  146. Interview week. 
  147. Passion Christmas Party
  148. Fight with N
  149. Dinner with KE (Chick n Sours)
  150. Last night with DL. 
  151. Matthew Bourne Swan Lake 
  152. Dinner with MK
  153. Visit with Babbis
  154. Christmas
  155. Athens trip! What a way to round out the year. :D
I think a pretty good year in terms of happiness and have definitely had less sadness and more adventures. 

Thank you for all my family and friends who have stuck by me and taken me on my journey this year. Here's to the next! 

Thursday, 3 January 2019

2019 Resolutions



Happy New Year! Here are my resolutions for this year. Help me decide on the skill I develop! 
  1. Read 30 books in 2019
  2. Re-read 2 books 
  3. Run a sub 30 park run 
  4. Pass Level 2 BSL
  5. Develop a skill (Options include knife skills, foraging, homemade pasta, driving)
  6. Explore London (1 site/event per month)
  7. Long weekend to Scotland.


Thursday, 27 December 2018

July Reviews

A Strangeness in my Mind
Orhan Pamuk
2.5/5
Faber & Faber Paperback Jul 2016
Recommendation from Daddy

As you can tell from the rating, I am in two minds about this one. There are definitely pros and cons to it, let me go through a few of them now.
Pro: As with all Orhan Pamuk's books, it is a love letter to Istanbul. The characters wind their way through the streets of the old town and descriptions of the city really bring the reader into the setting.
Con: It can get a little draining hearing about the different districts that spring up and endless descriptions of the space.
Pro: Character development is lovely, this book spans over a decade, which means that there is ample time to get to know all the characters from several angles.
Con: It's set over a decade! I would say it's too long, but the premise is that it is s true documentation of someones life-time so to cut out a chunk of years doesn't really work.
Pro: The story is great, exciting in parts, as well as interesting and intriguing. I definitely enjoyed many things about this book. But I think it needs to be read at a time when you can really commit the time to reading the story in a few sittings (holiday in Istanbul perhaps?). I found it difficult to get into the story every time I picked it up on the tube and I did read it very slowly. Not one I'd read again, but a narrative that will stay with me.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

June Reviews

The Red Clocks
Leni Zumas
1/5
The Borough Press Mar 2018 Kindle
Amazon

I think it was a shame that I read this book directly after The Cows because I ended up having a double dose of female voice. It is telling that I don't remember the story at all here. Everyone applauded the book because it had the feeling of the next Handmaid's tale about it just as the TV series was coming out. Meanwhile real world issues in Ireland and America surrounding women's rights around abortion. 
However, I didn't think much of the voice it jumped around to show off different writing styles and had that feeling of the author seeking to win prizes for their clever literary techniques. I wasn't a fan.


The Lemon Grove 
Helen Walsh 
1/5
Tinder Press June 2014 paperback
Birthday Gift

This was recommended to me by Stylist magazine in their book battle section. BUT the review did not point out that this is in fact quite smutty. *shocked face* The story follows a family holiday and the young daughter has brought home a fit boyfriend who treats her quite badly, mainly by going after the mother. It's a terrible story, it's full of quite awkward scenes. You can imagine the kind : "I shattered against him". 
The review I read made it seem like a travel writing book, a love letter to southern France, so you can imagine my surprise when I started reading it. Everything suddenly made sense for why the friend who gave it to me was blushing. 
Not one to read again or even one I'd gift, probably one to leave on a tube. I did read it on holiday in Miami where I was happy to read something easy like this so it does work as a holiday beach read.

Until September Petronella 
Jean Rhys
2/5
Penguin Modern 2018 Paperback 
Impulse purchase

These are short stories by some of the best writers of the modern age. I really enjoyed the three short stories in this one and have always liked Jean Rhys. But the trouble I had was that because it was such short bites I struggled to not just devour the whole thing in one sitting and differentiate each story. I am perhaps not used to reading short stories like this. 






Thursday, 6 December 2018

Reading the Seasons

The seasons may not command our daily lives like they used to, but I still feel their influence in the books that I choose. I consciously pick up a Gothic novel or thriller for Halloween and I realise that there are a few other genres that I go for that seem to have a correlation with what the weather is doing. I was at an author Q&A last weekend and one of them mentioned how they always read Wind in the Willows for Spring, Darling Buds of May for Summer and A Christmas Carol for Winter.

I know that a ton of people have a particular book at Christmas time. What's yours?

I've put down my suggestions for the seasons. These are all books I would read again and enjoy over and over again. I've tried to put them in the part of the year that would suit the story best.

Summer
Her
Eat, Pray, Love
The Power

Spring
Wind in the Willows
Chocolat
Blackberry Wine

Autumn
The Historian
Dracula
American Psycho

Winter
Christmas Carol
Little Women
A Gentleman in Moscow

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles
5/5
Sphere Paperback Feb 2006
Daddy's Bookclub

I rarely think about the "book of the year" award I give in May before I get there. But this book is definitely in the running. So much did my dad believe that I would love this book, he actually posted it to me to prevent any more delays or arguments.
I absolutely loved the story, a gentleman under house arrest in a large hotel in Moscow and how he copes. As a gentleman we see that he has no real world skills in terms of a career, but his ability to work with people is his triumph. Soon he has his hand in all sorts of areas in the hotel, and feels ownership of his life and situation. His resourcefulness is amazing! What would you do if you were trapped in a hotel for life?
The relationships between the characters is lovely to see develop. Despite the book spanning 3 decades the passage of time is clear and well handled, it doesn't drag or skip too many chunks. The writing is divine and fun to read. 
I've seen it in the window of Waterstones, so it is definitely a recommended read for Christmas, I may even re-read it my self. 


Thursday, 8 November 2018

Staying up to date

I review every book that I read. 

This is something that I have stuck to since I started a blog. However, there have been times where I have fallen behind in my reviews. Like now. Four months behind, 8 or 9 books to write up and the end of the year is fast approaching. 

I tend to do reviews in monthly round ups. But occasionally I get a month with a dud book. Not achingly bad, but not a favourite either. Or it takes me ages to read because suddenly keeping up with my podcast schedule on the tube seems more important. In these months, I carry these undigested books around. They are literal weight in my bag and serve as a constant reminder of my failure to read them and, often, the fact that I haven't made a post here in a while. 

The domino of this is that in my lack of enthusiasm to read that month, my desire to share the news of this dumb weight of a tomb is dampened. In the case of a particularly bad book, for example one I cannot bring my self to finish (a rare thing!), I may be excited by the prospect of writing a scathing review, which is "fun to write and to read". But mostly it only makes me sad. 

Then the good pick me up book that I read next gets stuck behind the queue of boring OK books and the pile of reviews "to do" piles up to a scary number. By the time I go back to (JUNE!) I have half forgotten the book. Half forgotten the discussion I had about it at the time. Half forgotten what was going on in my life. All of this makes for some strained little paragraphs in my reviews. 

I have decided to change things. I will continue to read every book that I read. BUT. I am going to stop chronological order. I'm going to review when I feel like it for the good ones and try and catch up with writing the ones I'm less excited about. My joy vs my duty reviews. I hope that this will light a fire under me to keep my blog alive. I am so proud of it, I wouldn't want it to fail because I'd set myself rules for how I run it. It's not working so we have to change the process. 

I won't make any promises that this will work. I hope it does though and I hope it leads to more reading and more writing.