Kendal Calling

Officially survived my first ever music festival! And it was uh-mazing, rain, mud, noise and all!

I was crazy nervous about the weekend’s tentular adventular – not least because of the prospect of managing my new fuckoffanorexia (hereafter to be refered to as FOA) lifestyle in a new environment. Admittedly I didn’t follow the meal plan everything 100% perfectly – but there was no aggro, chaos, leaving (even temporarily) or any kind of unpleasant, weekend-ruining shenanigans. Which I consider a MAJOR SUCCESS. I ate (and drank…!) enough to have plenty of energy and even managed to concoct a smarties porridge breakfast a la camping stove, which was amazing. Boooyah.

And then there was my star-studded moment of glory. Just a few hours in, while wading through the mudpocalypse, James (hubby) managed to convince me (admittedly a few sheets to the wind) to perform 3 songs in front of an audience for a free 45 minute shisha session (think vaping on hippie cushions in a hippie tent with a hippie bong). I figured most of the audience must be reasonably unsober and actually had the guts to get up and sing 3 songs, a cappella (like the nutjob I clearly am) – literally, me, a microphone, 50 odd strangers watching and no music. Went down surprisingly well and we got the shisha! Ahahaha – maybe they were taking pity on me? Worth it though – serious adrenaline high! Reckon I need to do some morestage performances to conquer this whole stage fright issue I have. I suppose I could construe it as PhD work in a way… #notkiddinganyone

The hot shower + pamper pass definitely helped. It maybe wasn’t worth it for the husband (he only used the toilets- whereas I took full advantage of my morning freshen-up and hair-dryer/curler/straightener facilities MANY TIMES. (totally rocked this pink afro look).

Definitetly recommend Club Pass with Miss Polly if it’s offered at any festivals y’all might be hitting up.

We didn’t watch many of the main acts – but the stuff at the smaller stages was waaaaay better because you could get right up front and no one was falling over and spilling beer on you!

Awesome experience, just wish we could afford the early-bird tickets for next year!

The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde

So many words! While I appreciate that there are some brilliant Wilde-esque one liners:

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.”

“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”

there are also myriad less brilliant attempts which tried to be profound but (I felt) fell flat (I guess the guy was only human). This made the prose unnecessarily dense so you need to be paying full attention or some of the meaning will fly by you. That all being said, it is a very very good book. I find it one of the scariest stories I have read – Dorian’s horror at revealing the painting is seriously unsettling but at the same time terrifyingly real. The dialogues, particularly those featuring Lord Henry, are brilliantly witty and controversial

“What of Art?
-It is a malady.
–Love?-An Illusion.
-The fashionable substitute for Belief.
–You are a sceptic.
-Never! Scepticism is the beginning of Faith.
–What are you?
-To define is to limit.”

The scene with Dorian’s old friend, Alan, is darkly hilarious and the book’s ending is just right. The only thing I didn’t like was the random encyclopaedic listing of historic artifacts that happens about halfway through, when Dorian is contemplating the inevitable decay of material things. It was long and boring and really didn’t need to be included! Not a comfortable read, but thoroughly worthwhile and highly engaging. Recommend.

4 (and a bit?) stars.

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

A nicely written ghost story – spooky and atmospheric with believable and relatable characters. The downside was that it felt like it was trying to be too many other things – a story of unrequited love and unaddressed homosexuality and a book about science and exploration. Despite the misleading title, there is very little actual science or physics that features in the book. The one brief reference to dark matter felt unnatural and forced – I can think of a hundred more suitable titles. Nevertheless the psychological struggle of the main character, his gradually increasing stress in the darkness and isolation, the ritualistic behaviour as a coping mechanism, his paranoia and the befriending of the husky, Isaak, were all very well done. Was the island really haunted? Or was the haunting a figment induced by a mind pushed into madness? Closer to 3.5 stars than 3, but not quite warranting that fourth.

Mexico is A-GO!!!

Soooooooo, we officially have business class flights booked to Mexico this September! I made this board for motivation/inspiration to stay well until then.

The little plane follows the track through the clouds counting down the week. OMG it’s so cute you could die right? I particularly like the cameo from Dory >.<  The little plane is reversible too – and I have written economy on one side and business on the other so the side that shows up depends on my progress during the current week.

(No prizes for guessing which side means what, here’s to flying free of the great unwashed! #privilegedsnobbery #ridiculousunnecessaryexpense #idontcare). I think this week I should be on target but will find out for sure soon?! Can’t wait for this holiday – we want to do a bunch of physical activities (#dolphinhugs #scuba #highropes #eyebrowraisingfuntime) so therein lies the motivation. Flipper, I’m a-coming, save all your lovin’ for me!


The List – Siobhan Vivian

A frustrating book – it leaves so many of the ends loose: what happens to Bridget? Does Margo get the stamp and end future lists? Does Lauren’s mum ever chill out? Does Abbie make up her grade? Did Sarah and Milo ever make it to the dance or get together? Does he ever realise that talking about Annie all the time is tactless? I guess this was done deliberately but I don’t think it works in this case – it made a lot of the build up seem pointless – nothing is resolved! It kept my interest and the writing was above par for the genre – but there are few too many similarities to the film Mean Girls, particularly the home-schooled girl’s thread. Entertaining but ultimately unsatisfying.


So I decided to judge for myself whether the hype around this one was justified. Sadly, I’m thinking not… The writing is lousy, the characters are unnatural and their relationships cliched. That said, it is an original fantasy world idea with room for development and I at least stayed interested enough not to tune out for most of it. Plus I have actually started the next one (although I feel kind of guilty for wasting an audible credit on such drivel) so there must have been something that sank its teeth into my guilty pleasures zone?! Maybe the movie is better…

2.5 stars.

More watercolours plus attack of the granny squares!

This week’s art. I worked from a photo in a National Geographic magazine, sketching and then using watercolour paint. I’m quite pleased with the result – thinking it could make a nice Mothers’ Day card. Might look into printing some of my designs on to cards and selling via. Etsy to raise a few bob until I can go back to work. In the meantime, I’ve been crocheting granny squares like mad for the last few months (I have nearly 150, although I’ve lost track of the exact amount!) and now I’m finally at the stage where I’ve started to sew them together!  As you can see, I have knitted myself into a bit of a corner – the housekeeping staff are struggling to navigate a vacuum cleaner around my room- I’m not their favourite person just now!

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

I disagree with some other reviews I’ve heard about this book in that I didn’t think there were too many characters. The style of writing was unusual in that is jumped about from one character’s POV to another’s, but I didn’t have any trouble keeping track of who was who or what was going on, in fact I quite liked this way of doing things. I actually really enjoyed the first 90% of the book. The mystery built and was revealed at a good pace and the writing was well edited, no unnecessary drivelling detail etc. The only downside for me is that I was a bit disappointed by the lack of surprising plot twists. (There is a weak twist in the last few pages but it doesn’t actually have any impact on the story and it left me cold). To be fair, it would have been difficult for PH to come up with a twist as good as that in TGOTT without it seeming contrived, but what can I say, I’m a demanding reader! Nevertheless, it was an engaging read overall, with interesting, well developed characters and it dealt well with some sensitive issues. 3.5 stars.