See you later

Well, we’ve wrapped up yet another year. It was a pretty eventful year filled with love and laughter and also lots of struggle.

I feel lucky to have spent quality time with good friends, many made the trip over to NZ and it was a blast to see them. It’s been a pretty good year in terms of my relationship, moving in with my partner and the like, and we managed to raise a cherry tomato plant. Go us. A definite highlight this year was also my Harry Potter themed 30th birthday party – all the prep reminded me how much I actually enjoy doing crafty things.

It’s also been a tough year for me, mentally and physically. I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching and make some decisions about what I truly want for myself. Therapy is helping with that, as is a very supportive partner and good friends, so I feel very lucky in that respect. It’s been a hard few months but I think I’m coming out the other side now.

Looking back at my ‘aims and aspirations‘ for 2017, things didn’t really pan out. I read more than I anticipated, and I guess I do kind of enjoy the gym. Yay? I did not reach my squat goal, but I made a conscious decision to drop weight and improve my depth around September, so I’m not too disappointed with that. My form is very good now, if I do say so myself. I didn’t write though and I definitely didn’t save money. As for being positive at work? Hmmm. Yeah. And being happy? Well my therapist says that’s too abstract a thing to aim for. Looking at parts of that though, I did start volunteering at the SPCA which I find really rewarding, I did eat way better and I did push myself outside my comfort zone. I feel like, overall, I did pretty well – even if I was horribly depressed for the last quarter of the year.

In 2018, I really want to focus on me. Not in a selfish way, but in a living life for myself kind of way. There are a lot of things I’m incredibly happy with: my relationship, my family, my friends, where I live, my commitment to fitness. I’m making some pretty major changes though, most notably starting a new job later this month. It’s scary and overwhelming but so desperately needed.

As part of my commitment to focus on me, I’ve decided to give up this whole blogging thing. My heart isn’t in it anymore. Hasn’t been for a very long time. This will be my final post. I’ll leave the blog up just in case I find I need this outlet again one day.

If you’ve enjoyed my random posts about what I’m reading, feel free to keep an eye on my Goodreads profile. Otherwise you can catch me on the gram.

Happy new year. Be kind to yourself. Look after each other.

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November, December, let’s remember

Combo cause was too frantic to get them done separately.

Books:

I read the next two books in the Alex Versus series, ‘Cursed‘ and ‘Taken‘. I’m still not really that into them but I think it’s becoming a bit more interesting. Writing can be a bit repetitive but as far as a pretty low maintenance read that you can knock out in a day goes, you could do worse. I also read ‘Career of Evil‘, the third Cormoran Strike novel. I just really enjoy them, they remind me of why I loved Nancy Drew as a kid. In the interest of getting a bit more on top of things, I’ve also been delving into the more self-help, arm chair psychology side of things. So far I’ve finished ‘Unplugged: The Essential Digital Detox Plan‘ which was more about mindfulness than any really useful insight into the obsession with digital life/social media. Nothing really there that I hadn’t heard before. I also read Marie Kondo’s much lauded book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up‘. Found this surprisingly insightful and I’ve already tackled my wardrobe using the principle with great results. Major obstacle for me is that it feels very wasteful, but donating as much as I can to charity sort of helps circumvent that. Finally, I read ‘How Trump Thinks: His Tweets and the Birth of a New Political Language‘ by Peter Oborne. It’s basically just a chronicle of Trump’s tweets over his Twitter lifespan and just reinforces how batshit crazy the man is.

Music:

Let’s be real, most of December is dedicated to listening to pop covers of Christmas Carols. But here is a combo list for the two months.

Movies:

Murder on the Orient Express: Love a bit of Agatha Christie and Kenneth Branagh so this was an enjoyable wee adaptation. Nothing revolutionary but inoffensive. Thoroughly enjoyed the costuming.

Justice League: I actually forgot I saw this which should really tell you everything you need to know about it. It wasn’t bad…time passed pretty quickly and as a generic action film it was fine. But it wasn’t good either. DC just haven’t laid the groundwork the way that Marvel have and in the end, you don’t really care about any of these people. Also, Superman has always been problematic in that he’s way to overpowered and it kind of ruins everything? Also Aquaman is a ridiculous hero. But he was pretty funny in this. And the Flash is funny but I just…I don’t care. Marvel is the better franchise. Much like Batman vs Superman, Wonder Woman is the best thing in this. She’s a wonderful character and the only one who feels really fleshed out. They should just cut their losses and only make her films from now on.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Spare me the whining that’s come off the back of this. Aren’t hardcore fans just the absolute pits? Probably a bit long and self-indulgent, but I really enjoyed it. Enjoyed the humour and thought the message it was sending about shades of grey, futility vs hope and the short-sightedness of heroes was very refreshing. Plus the lightsaber duel was epic. Don’t get the fuss about Adam Driver though. Bleh. Hoping to go see it again!

Oh October

Left it a bit late, oops!

Books:

I read a work related book called ‘Superfandom: How Our Obsessions are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are‘ by Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron Glazer. It’s interesting from a marketing point of view but it doesn’t really go into too much depth on the power and motivation of fandom. Interesting to see how fandom works in other contexts but probably not as much detail as I’d like. I also read ‘Fated‘ by Benedict Jacka, the first in a series about an London wizard named Alex Versus. A friend of mine really rates this series so I wanted to like it a lot more than I did. It’s very similar to the Dresden Files (which I got bored of very quickly) and lacks the charm or innovation of the similarly premised Rivers of London series. Would really recommend the latter if you’re looking for some good urban fantasy but I’ve decided to keep going with the Alex Versus series for now to see if it improves. Lord, how I hate a series. Finally, I read ‘Manhood: How to Be a Better Man – or Just Live with One‘ by Terry Crews. I adore Terry (especially in Brooklyn 99) but really knew nothing about him. This was a quick and easy read that certainly revealed a lot about the man and what he’s gone through. Really hated how he referred to women only ever in context of being wives, mothers or sisters, well-meaning though he is. An interesting read and made the bf read it as well.

Music:

Will never get tired of ‘Northern Downpour’. Never.

 

Movies:

My Year With Helen: This documentary follows former NZ PM Helen Clark during her campaign for UN Secretary General. This made me want to do something that actually made a difference in people’s lives. Helen Clark is a national treasure and a bona fide role model. The realities and bureaucracies of politics and government is, as always, soul crushingly disappointing. Would recommend.

Blade Runner 2049: This film is so achingly beautiful to look at. Weta just does such incredible work. Lots of complaints about its length but I thought it was perfectly paced (and I didn’t feel like checking my watch once during it, which is always a good sign in my own opinion.) It felt really true to the original Blade Runner and had the feel of classic films from ye olden times, the type we just don’t get anymore. Both Gosling and Ford delivered great performances. I am so here for it.

Thor: Ragnarok: This film is everything I ever wanted in life. The first Thor has always been my favourite of the Marvel films because it was unexpectedly hilarious and strong ethos. Ragnarok is simply a beautiful build on that. The comedic timing, the characters, the easter eggs, the cinematography, the music…everything is on point here. Taika Waititi is a DELIGHT and if you haven’t seen his other films, get on that asap. Also, Cate Blanchett. Enough said. Sometimes I just think of the scene below and crack up laughing. It’s a serious problem.

tenor

Sweet September

Books:

I managed to read two books in September, so that was nice. ‘Obernewtyn‘ by Isobelle Carmody was the first cause, as you should know by now, I love a bit of YA. I’ve been meaning to read this author for years as she’s quite well known in Australia but somehow never got around to it. It’s your basic fantasy YA. Overall, I found it enjoyable enough and a very easy read. I wanted to get to the end to find out what happened, but I’m not really invested in the characters enough to keep reading the series. The second book I read was ‘Purple Hibiscus‘ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Adichie is fast becoming one of my favourite contemporary writers. Her writing is thoroughly engaging and her characters are masterfully constructed so you can’t help but be engrossed by their stories. I also find her scene setting really powerful, and I enjoy her characterisation of Nigeria, and Africa. Having grown up in sub-Saharan Africa, I feel a lot of it viscerally, in a way I’ve never experienced before (take for example Alexander McCall Smith’s ‘The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’, which I enjoyed, but it never felt real, not like Adichie’s Africa feels real.) And of course the story itself is powerful, and harrowing, and also inspiring. Definitely reading more Adichie.

Music:

The Demi Lovato track puts me in an ass-kicking mood. And new Sam Smith, finally.

 

Movies:

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: Meh. I wanted to like this. I really enjoyed the first one as a fun spy romp that sort of took the piss out of spy films, and I generally also like Michael Vaughn’s work, but this was suuuuuuch a waste of time. Too long, unnecessary scenes, story decisions that didn’t make much sense, and also drawing something that could have been a fun little joke out for far too long. It just didn’t really make sense and it took the things that really stood out in the first film (i.e. the church fight scene) and tried to re-do it again and again. And sadly it just didn’t have the charm to pull it off. Also why would you have the comedic genius of Channing Tatum in your film and then not use him for most of it? What a waste. Probably just setting up the buddy comedy that will be Kingsman 3. Ugh. Who can be bothered? So yes, ultimately disappointing, you’re better off just watching the first one again.

Yogalicious

I’ve been doing a fair bit of yoga lately and it has genuinely been a revelation. It sounds incredibly wanky, but I feel so much lighter afterwards and I feel like it’s genuinely had a positive impact on my mental health. Even if I am still terrible at it.

Things I have noticed since starting to do yoga:

  • Breathing is better. I’m always sick/congested but find that it’s not impacting on my breathing as much as it used to (especially when I’m trying to sleep.)
  • I do a lot of strength training, and I’m not that great with the stretching afterwards, so my muscles can get super tight. Yoga is helping so much with that, and also helps with my recovery time.
  • I’m much more aware of my posture when I’m at my desk so I’m sitting a lot better (instead of twisting myself into a knot). Also, sitting cross-legged on the ground has become noticeably easier as it was actually becoming a bit of a bitch.
  •  I’m a pro-sloucher so awareness and practice has been invaluable to improving my posture. I’m already noticing a change in my body when I walk and I’ve only really been doing this consistently for three weeks.
  • I am seriously so chill afterwards, I feel like a whole different person. Even if I’m super stressed or wound up before class. I think it’s actually helping me not get so worked up about things in every day situations as well. I feel like I’m becoming better at letting go of things.

I must admit that I’ve tried yoga before but the classes I attended felt judge-y and more focussed on fitness/performance. I don’t do well with people looking over my shoulder and critiquing what I’m doing. I like doing things for fun, rather than the feeling like I’m going to be tested on it. So I’m very pleased that I’ve managed to find two teachers who really push the mindfulness aspect of it, as well as technique and working with your body. I’ve found it super valuable and genuinely look forward to the classes.

10/10 would recommend.

 

Fashion Friday: Shoes

I’ve somehow made it through all of winter with no boots. Yeah, I know. Well, I have heeled boots that live under my desk at work but I mean boots I actually walk in outside. Madness. I also need brogues for work because of reasons. So, without further ado, here are some shoes I like the look of.

Blue

Blue Suede boots @ Clarke’s

Asos2

Chelsea boot @ Asos

Rollie

Derby tweed @ Rollie

Asos1

Metallic brogues @ Asos

kenzie-leather-lace-up-ankle-boot-kenzie-black-waxy-hero

Lace up @ Shoe Connection

AllBirds

Runners @ Allbirds