Sunday, February 7, 2016

Summer Hibernation

I am sure that most people know of hibernation - when animals go to sleep during Winter only to come awake again during Spring - famished, but ready for the new season.
I feel a strong draw to this sort of behaviour - I am drawn to bears and their energy, and am often intrigued by them. And, of course, I am always fascinated by badgers, and while they don't tend to hibernate, they will sometimes. But it is only recently that I realised I don't really hibernate in Winter - I hibernate in Summer.

Summer in Perth is a scary thing at times. At the moment we are at the start of a heat wave - at least seven consecutive days of temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius (so above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, even up to about 108 it seems) - and I am feeling equal parts nervous and ...filled with dread. You see, as much as I adore Perth, the high levels of heat make me quite ill. Migraines are common when it is hot, and that can often trigger other symptoms in me.

And so, I tend to avoid going out much in the Summer. I isolate myself, keep things I love close by (tea becomes iced, generally, and soft things are only cuddled if I am near air conditioning), and generally try to organise things so I don't have to go into the searing sun. I sleep more, generally because of the migraines, or because I am so tired from a poor night's sleep the night before.

This is my Summer version of hibernation.

When others I know are out enjoying the warmer weather (though probably not as much during this heatwave!), I am more likely to be inside reading and just trying to survive.

Monday, February 1, 2016

{2016} January Reading

Okay, I know I have taken a few months off from this (November and December from last year kind of slipped away without recognition of my reading really...) but I really do enjoy these wrap-ups because it indicates to me what I was feeling like reading (particularly now that I don't show what I am reading for the Aurealis Awards) and buying. Onwards!

Books bought/received:
~ The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1) by Catherynne M. Valente
~ The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland #2) by Catherynne M. Valente
~ The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland #3) by Catherynne M. Valente
~ The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (Fairyland #4) by Catherynne M. Valente
~ The Exhibit by Lauren Eggert-Crowe
~ Empowered Fertility: A Practical Twelve-Step Guide by Claire Hall with Dr Devora Lieberman (review)



Books read:
~ Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer
~ The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1) by Catherynne M. Valente
~ The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland #2) by Catherynne M. Valente
~ The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland #3) by Catherynne M. Valente
~ The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (Fairyland #4) by Catherynne M. Valente
~ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J. K. Rowling
~ Then Came You (Animal Magnetism #5) by Jill Shalvis

Well. You can see that I well and truly caught the Fairyland bug this month - after a few months of on and off reading the first book. I got to about chapter four and then I was lost. Chatting to Xin about the books and even having him read a bit of it to me at one point led us to wandering to Planet Books (my favourite local bookshop) and buying books two, three, and four. Book one had to be ordered but arrived a few days ago and, yes, I am gently rereading it for the sheer joy.

My Fairyland experience is bookended by finishing the final Lunar Chronicles book - which I enjoyed quite a bit, but not as much as the Fairyland books - and finally reading book five of the Animal Magnetism series. I found it good, but somehow didn't connect with the characters as much as I usually do - not sure why. (Could be my mourning the fact that I had no more new Fairyland books to read until the final one comes out in March...) Just the seventh book of Animal Magnetism to go!

Of course, finishing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire fit in there somewhere, too, as I am very far behind the read-along at the moment!



I am currently reading the Empowered Fertility book I requested to review - not because I want to get pregnant, but because research has indicated to me that being healthy and fertile could help with a few of my ongoing issues. And I have to say, I am enjoying it more than I thought. Review to come for sure.

All things considered, I think I started the new year off quite well. Here's to more wonderful reading in the future!

What are you reading at the moment? Have you ever had trouble getting into something and then suddenly 'got the bug' and found you couldn't get enough?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Book Review: Little Robot by Ben Hatke

I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...




Title: Little Robot
Author: Ben Hatke
Publication Date: September 1st 2015

Synopsis: "Life outside the robot factory is confusing.
Little Robot has a lot to learn...
And that's what friends are for.
But with danger on the way, will friendship be enough to save them?"

My thoughts: As with everything Ben Hatke has created, this little book is charming, delightful, and full of the feels. Everything just makes you want to delve into this world, from the lovely colours, to the sweet characters, even down to the noises that the robots make when they are trying to talk to someone.

When I first read this I ended up sitting in my chair for some time afterwards going back through the book and trying to understand the emotions and everything experienced by the two main characters - Hatke seems to be able to create such wonderful characters even without having much dialogue at all, and I love that. He can make a reader feel, and that is just fantastic in such a great author/artist.

I always want to recommend Hatke's work to anyone with young kids, but now I am also thinking that people my age (and older) would get something lovely out of his work - after all, I always do!


I received a review copy of this book from First Second Books (thank youu!!).

You would like this book if: you like sweet robots who just want some friends...

Tea to drink while reading this book: something like hot chocolate, I think, so you can slurp it up and feel cozy in your tummy while you feel cozy in your brain from reading this!

Rating:  8.5/10

If you'd like to keep up to date with what I'm reading, follow me on Goodreads here!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book Review: Anti-Stress Dot-to-Dot by Emily Wallis

I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...



Title: Anti-Stress Dot-to-Dot
Author: Emily Wallis
Publication Date: November 2015

Synopsis: "Relax and focus your mind with these elegant dot-to-dot pictures.
Emilly Wallis provides a book of sophisticated dot-to-dot illustrations for you to bring to life. Featuring majestic animals, elegant buildings and gorgeous scenes from nature, this book is a window to a few minutes of peace and calm.

De-stress and lose yourself to the task of joining the dots and revealing the stunning drawings within them."

My thoughts: Something a little bit different for me to review! As I am sure everyone has seen, colouring books having become all the rage lately. I have also coloured a few things, here and there, and enjoyed it immensely. But I wanted to try something different - some of the colouring books out there have such intricate designs for colouring that I find myself frustrated that I never get anywhere!

Enter: Anti-Stress Dot-to-Dot. This is fantastic book of lovely designs - most of which you cannot decode without actually putting pen to paper. For example, I started one that I was afraid was going to end up as a clown, but turned out to be a lion... Well played, Wallis. Well played.

This is definitely a lovely thing to have on hand to pass the time or to chill out, and I highly recommend it to everyone!


I received a review copy of this book from Pan Macmillan (thank you!).

You would like this book if: You, like me, enjoy colouring in but feel like something a bit different.

Tea to drink while reading this book: Sipping on some chamomile while you complete this would be a perfect way to relax!

Rating:  10/10

If you'd like to keep up to date with what I'm reading, follow me on Goodreads here!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Book Review: Secret Coders - Get With the Program! by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes

I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...





Title: Secret Coders: Get with the Program!
Author: Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
Series: Secret Coders #1
Publication Date: Sept 29th 2015

Synopsis: "Welcome to Stately Academy.
Hopper hates her new school. The kids are mean, the principal is scary, and there's something creepy about the building itself. For instance: why are the walls of Stately Academy covered in the number 9?

Hopper and her friend Eni are determined to get to the bottom of it. But the mystery of Stately Academy has been programmed into its very stones, and it'll take two persistent programmers to figure it out!
Hopper and Eni are about to become secret coders."

My thoughts: I have to admit I wasn't sure I was going to get on very well with this one - bullies and something about coding? Hmm. But I have loved everything else that I have read by Gene Luen Yang, and so I decided to go with it.
I ended up being sucked in pretty quickly, and rather disappointed when the first volume ended so soon! I even had my notebook out at one point trying to figure out answers to things before heading on to the next chapter, and I found it fascinating to learn about binary code - the way Holmes and Yang have explained it is fantastic!

The art is also fantastic - clean and not too busy, with a simple palette and really expressive characters. The humour is also great. All of this adds up to just a lovely little story that deserves to continue on - I can't wait for the next volume!


I received a review copy of this book from First Second Books (thank you!!).

You would like this book if: You like gentle graphic novels with good characters and some maths thrown in for good measure.

Tea to drink while reading this book: Something simple and good for supporting the brain, like a simple Sencha green tea or the like. :)

Rating:  8/10

If you'd like to keep up to date with what I'm reading, follow me on Goodreads here!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

My intentions for 2016



I have a bit of a problem with the word 'resolution'. It seems final and somewhat clinical to me, in a strange way. And the things that I want for myself, for my life, are ever-changing, ever-expanding. In light of this, I am going to write a simple list of intentions that I may update or change as time goes on, but will try to keep coming back to. I am working towards living a more simple life, it seems.


  1. Grow sunflowers (or some similar bright and cheerful flower).
  2. Buy less, make more.
  3. Slim down on my wardrobe (make do and mend; slowly acquire more wholehearted/mindful items).
  4. Return to a morning routine as often as needed.
  5. Write more love letters.
  6. Write things that make people feel cozy.
  7. Reduce so there are less decisions.
  8. Give more presents for no reason (also, stop relying so much on traditional present-giving times).
  9. "I give myself rest, generously, without skimping or making faces or saying things like "oh I have no idea why I'm so tired", because I know that rest is mine and it's how I take care of myself, and it doesn't need a reason".
  10. "I own very little, and love everything that I own."

You may notice that a few of those are very similar, but these are my intentions and they seem to want to overlap and be friends a bit, so that's just what I am going with. 
What else you may notice is that the last two intentions are in quotation marks - this is because I have stolen them from Havi, because she is much more eloquent and thoughtful than I am at times, and I felt that she had already written it in the best way. To read her original post where these can be found (at number 17 and 19 respectively), please head here.

I think I might try to write these up nicely (or try to find someone who would do it for me...) and stick them up around my home to remind me, because they feel glow-y and lovely and I want them in my space all the time. :)

Friday, January 1, 2016

burnout: the big bad wolf

"Storm Clouds" by Sarah Lee (source)


I have mentioned in my previous posts how I am dealing with a few things at the moment (or rather, perhaps, not dealing, but weathering), and burnout is the main thing.

And I just wanted to talk this out a little. Because burnout is kind of a scary thing if you haven't experienced it before - or even if you have. It kind of takes over everything, at least it does for me, and you find yourself wondering if it will ever. actually. leave. (note: it does. eventually.)

It has been about three weeks since I realised that I was burnt out, and I have to say that I thought I would be okay by now, and I am beyond frustrated that I am starting my new year feeling exhausted, grumpy, overwrought, and anxious. And yes, a little bit sad. It's not really the way I wanted to start 2016.

I have been having little windows of feeling okay, even feeling a little driven and excited about plans for 2016, and then it's like the fog descends once more and I just have to sit down and wait for a bit longer. 

Because fighting the fog never works, guys. There's nothing to swing out, nothing to yell at (everything gets a bit muffled anyway), and nothing to - in extremely desperate situations - bite. You're kind of just fighting against yourself a little bit, and that doesn't feel too good. It leads you to feel frustrated with yourself, and sometimes even lash out at the people you love - which makes you feel even worse and more frustrated.

The thing is, I know how to deal with burnout, even if I sometimes forget. The way to deal is to go to basics - whatever this means for you. Do the bare necessities, and then remind yourself of things that have made you happy in the past. For me, that means returning to gentle morning routines with incense, yoga, green smoothies, and meditation. It means rereading things that make me feel the warm fuzzies, and, yes, going through my belongings and getting rid of the things that no longer kindle my interest or inspire me.

And I think also reading about how others have gotten through burnout has helped me, so in the interest of sharing that there are a few links below to help out. If you have burnout too, I wish you all the best in your recovery. 

LINKS
http://leoniedawson.com/burnout-how-to-recognise-it-how-to-fix-it-how-to-get-better-at-it/

http://leoniedawson.com/stuck-in-a-rut-10-ways-to-get-out/

http://www.fluentself.com/blog/not-hating-on-yourself/what-you-do-when-you-feel-like-dirt/


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