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Mark Manson

16th January 2018

Now, Mark Manson had dropped off my radar. A couple of years ago I applied to be his virtual assistant, but I never heard back, almost certainly because I don’t feel I ever got to grips with marketing my stay at home mum self at the time. In any case he came back on the radar when I was linked to this article back in the summer and for whatever reason, this book came up as a suggested read when I was using my new overdrive app on the kindle a few days ago.

Having just battled with a few anxiety ridden days (yes, yes, I am also tired of everyone writing about and presumably having anxiety, but there’s evidently something to that – as in everyone is dealing with it in various forms and we’re only just talking about it…endlessly apparently if instagram and the rest of the net is anything to go by) anyway this was a prescient title for me.

My favourite quote thus far:

“Decision-making based on emotional intuition, without the aid of reason to keep it in line, pretty much always sucks. You know who bases their entire lives on their emotions? Three year old kids. And dogs. You know what else three year olds and dogs do? Shit on the carpet”

I’m holding tight for the last chapter which I am assured by someone I trust is killer.

It’s my 6th book of 2018. I’m pulling disparate books from all over. Young adult, fiction, non fiction, biography – everything will go in the mix this year.





9th January 2018

Picture of me reading


Way back in the summer when everything was a big mess I had a booking at the house for two students to stay. The whole few weeks they were here were intense due to a combination of both personal circumstances and their presence in the house. I felt that need, as I often do when under pressure, for a treat, something significant, something to reward me for putting up with what was going on. Something to dissuade me from putting my head in the oven, something to distract me. I don’t find clothes or shoes are enough, I want something to add value to my life so if it’s not going to be something to ‘do’ something pretty useful or something that makes something is high up on the list.

When prime day came round 3 kindle fires were ordered and subsequently delivered. One for each of us.

I’d resisted kindles for so long, valuing the feel of books and the excitement of opening a new one. I couldn’t imagine getting pleasure from an ebook. I love to read and life a few years ago had seemed like an endless cycle of amazon deliveries and sorting titles during clear outs to the point that I think it was 2016 I pulled back on the purchases and determined only to order books from the library. I don’t want to bring anything into the house that doesn’t have a use, something that can remain dormant, like a read book.

Anyway, all the titles I can’t get hold of at the library, I can download in that pleasing instant way now and it’s enabled me to read more than ever. For a time I was impulsively downloading offers of the week to my library but all that’s come to a head now I have built up my own digital stack.

This weekend, curled up in bed yesterday morning, Ruby and I downloaded the overdrive app and linked our library accounts to our kindles. I downloaded the library’s ebook copy of ‘Everything Everything’ by Nicola Yoon (which I finished this morning) and also walked the dog to the audiobook version of ‘The Wind up Bird Chronicle” by Haruki Murakami. Ruby opted for an audio version of Harry Potter. I will read more this year than I ever have this way. The app is also on my phone now and I will be spending my lunchtime walk with the dog devouring new titles. I’ve clocked in three titles so far this year in the first week. Each, in its own way helping me sift my situation or thoroughly distracting me. I’ve set my reading challenge on goodreads to 40 books this year and I am looking forward to properly restoring reading to my days.


Jarett Kobek :: I hate the Internet

25th January 2017

Picture of Jarrett Kobek's book 'I Hate the Internet'

I finished reading my first book of 2017: Jarett Kobek’s “I hate the internet”. It’s difficult to know where to begin, for reasons which, if you pick this book up, you will understand. It reads as a work of fiction, referred to within as a ‘good bad novel’ and I will say, that definitely holds up, it isn’t a book to read for the writing quality, though obviously quite deliberately. However it’s also set within our internet age and references the current players in this age, it has so many scurrilous observations of the present day digital elite, the UK publisher has redacted many paragraphs. We’re talking thick black lines throughout the book masking I don’t know what about people, mostly it seems, Peter Thiel. After each of these heavily censored clips is the note “Jim’ll fix it” in reference to the defamation suits in which Jimmy Saville managed “to stop any third party reporting on his status as a living depravity.” I’ve never read a book like this.

I thought I’d be reading this and coming to more depressing conclusions about the negative side to our immediate connectivity thanks to the internet. I’ve been thinking about distraction and attention deficit for quite some time now. Instead it mostly was a book that compares how comic book companies (corporations) made MILLIONS from comics, completely taking advantage of artists intellectual property whilst paying their artists almost nothing. This is a critique on the current system where the corporations cashing out on the internet aren’t really the creatives making the content. It’s also an important commentary of the still evident racial and social injustices that we are still living through in this internet age.

There were parts of this book I was just utterly perplexed by. Baby, one of the characters in the book is an author and one of the storylines in one of his novels is about an organisation called the World Time Travel Authority and how it infests all its time travellers with a mutated strain of gonorrhoea that pools in the back of the throat. The gonorrhoea is ‘hyperintelligent’, it can talk! It keeps the time travellers company. I know. WTF. But just when you think there can’t be any weirder elements to a novel Kobek uses the word ‘polyamoyrous’ in relation to the marital set up of two of his characters. He then discusses the etymology of the word ‘polyamorous’. We have, apparently ‘Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart’ to thank and this, then is where I learnt that Morning Glory and her husband actually surgically altered the horn buds of goats to grow just a single horn in the middle of the skull. Yes, they were trying to make unicorns and then 4 of these goats end up at the Ringling Brothers Circus. This, this bit of the book is TRUE – I KNOW, not a work of fiction. See here. I haven’t felt so confused in the act of reading for some time. What IS the world coming to?

It’s worth a read, if you want a scathing indictment of the internet as it currently stands with it’s endless advertising. The internet allows hate and trolling on a mass scale and this activity hides behind free speech. We curate our digital presence in a way that makes many of us feel uneasy and some of us feel inferior, privacy can be violated, bad people can do bad things on the net. With all that, I LOVE the internet, used with intention it’s connecting and informing and a tool I wouldn’t want to live without, but reading this has made me think and that, I’m sure was the end goal.






Deep Work by Cal Newport

29th November 2016

Photo of the book Deep Work by Cal Newport


People often refer to ‘game-changers’ and this book, has definitely been that for me. I heard about this title on the James Altucher podcast and after listening to the pod I watched Cal Newport’s TED talk ‘How to quit social media’.

Having long suspected that the constant attention switching in my day to day was messing with the way my brain actually functioned it was refreshing, albeit frightening to learn that Clifford Nass, Stanford professor had concluded that those of us that ‘multi-task’ in this way, online and using social media are “chronically distracted” and unable to “filter out irrelevancy”. My own ability to resist distracting stimuli with platforms like instagram and Facebook was dire, my need to check them reflexive as opposed to intentional. I obviously post on my instagram a fair amount sharing work, moments and books. I’ve been swept up along with the digital generation that stakes out our little section of the internet and I suppose aims to show our originality and relevancy via little square photos. I have to tell you, I enjoy it too! The feedback and the connection to other people with children, dogs and family and the ability to connect with other people who love to make with yarn or read is FUN, but it was also draining me. I was more than aware I was spending too much time there and not getting as much as I wanted done.

So, I left Facebook, with no fanfare, no ridiculous virtuous status update. I just left. I’ve been gone a few months now. I’ve had one phone call from a good friend I used to live with hoping that I am ok and then the other two people who have mentioned it to me in a text are both my neighbours who I see pretty much everyday anyway. Was I a little worried about FOMO (fear of missing out)? A little bit, but on balance I knew that there was little going on there and I was reclaiming my time from updates and an interface I genuinely sometimes felt irritated by. I was fed up of clickbait and bored rigid with my feed. All I’ve noticed as a consequence is that I’ve made more phone calls and made more of an effort to meet people. Texting/whatsapp-ing has inevitably increased but that’s understandable and I’m ok with it. At the moment, not being on Facebook is working.

The other thing I’ve done is switch off my notifications for whatsapp – this way I’m not getting constantly disturbed by interruptions throughout the day or getting involved in long and time consuming exchanges. This feels like more time back to me, a drawback is missing out on impulsive ‘are you free to Skype?’ chats with my sister and my friend abroad, but again, I’ve not missed out on anything that I absolutely needed to be aware of immediately.

The crux of “Deep work” is that to be relevant in the new economy we need to be able to focus undistracted on cognitively demanding tasks. This will make us better at what we do, more attractive as an employee, let us achieve more in less time and provide the sense of true fulfilment that comes from the mastery of a skill.

So what else has changed since I read this book?

I generally get up earlier, at 5.45, to be up before the rest of the family and have some uninterrupted time to start my day. I have found this so much easier since the clocks changed and I love sitting in the kitchen with my cup of coffee getting things done quietly.

I’ve been learning a new cognitively demanding skill, computer coding. The last few months have seen me switch up my routine to code directly after walking the dog. Before, I was running as a non negotiable in my day, primarily so I couldn’t wriggle out of it, however running comes under a “more automatic” task, as does crochet which I don’t need to concentrate on as much anymore, so coding and writing fills up the morning as much as possible. I don’t enjoy running in the afternoon, it means I have to be more self disciplined which is more tiring but it’s possible. There are no podcasts playing, no music, the phone is in airplane mode and I just get on with the task at hand. It will be a slow burn but I’ve mastered some basic html, css and bootstrap, I can navigate github and pull code, all things that were unknown to me before. I get a real kick out of it. The only thing I’ve struggled with is how much time I can spend doing this but I will blog on that another time.

Every other week I try to stay off instagram entirely. I don’t want to be consuming images, I don’t want any inputs and I don’t want to organise what to post or spend time replying to comments. I just stay off. That week inevitably makes me realise how much time and how often I go to check. One thing that has helped is putting the app on the 5th screen I tab to on my phone so I am more aware when I’m going to check. I’ll be writing more on how to be more of a master with your phone because I’ve learnt a few things over the last few months, some of which really aren’t pretty!

I thoroughly recommend this book, all my reads are here on my goodreads profile.


What I talk about when I talk about running

29th June 2016

Murakami book on running


At the beginning of this year I was feeling head-achingly overwhelmed. Details aren’t the point but I could give you some potentials just so you get the vibe. It might have been S.A.D, it may have been mid life insecurity (just being honest, I seem to be working mine up quite adeptly and my father passed away at 60, so labelling it midlife, for me, is a plausible reality), it could have just been post Christmas fatigue. Really, in order to get to that point of ‘not feeling on my game’, I just need to have a list longer than I can cope with, to have lost track of dates and forgotten things, have that perpetual feeling of constantly chasing my tail or pitiful lacklustre energy levels to feel overwhelmed – if I drop the ball with my physical and mental health by eating/drinking badly or overbooking myself and not spending enough time alone, I just unravel a bit, it’s an inevitability. If I then add any personal pressure into that mix, or stresses by proxy – problems that friends or family are having, issues with the children, BOOM… I’m having an internal implosion.

But, on the flip side, I’ve always got running.

I got into running after signing up for the London Marathon when I was 21 as an antidote for heartbreak – the type of heartbreak that reacts boldly (and naively) with ‘I’ll show him’ when actually, quite frankly ‘he’ probably doesn’t even have any clue I ran a marathon and neither would he care, nor does anyone else really. It might have turned out to be a completely redundant and painful endeavour except that I now knew I had this practice, which, while I didn’t especially enjoy it and wasn’t entirely great at it, seemed to sort my head out and had the added benefit of keeping me fit, making me more productive and less, how can I put it? the word ‘crazed’ probably covers it. In any case, though I knew all that, I think I found the 26 miles a little traumatic for someone whose lack of innate athletic prowess had resulted in never being picked for sports at school. It took a while (years) before I went for my next event, The Great North Run. That race I prepared for properly, but again, I ran that and dropped running once again. However things came back into their own when my dad died and running came sharply back into focus as a healer. An organised run felt like a productive, unifying thing to do and my sisters and I ran the Brighton Half for charity. Since then I’ve intermittently run other halves and last October I ran in Bright 10 but I’ve never run as consistently as I have in 2016.

When the New Year came around I hadn’t run properly since October, but I signed myself up for a 1000km in 2016 challenge on the map my run running app and a few days into January embarked on my first 6 miler with my friend Matt. I was pretty hungover as I recall, it was freezing, it rained and I cursed almost every step. My starting point was that all encompassing term: slumpy. I’m now 56 runs down and have 494km racked up. I feel stronger, I feel fitter and more importantly a whole lot happier. I’ve run one half marathon and one 10k so far this year and I’ve got 2 more 10k’s, a half, a 10 miler and a tough mudder to go. I went to see an intuitive last September and he said I had a tendency for obsession once I get into something. I think there is probably something in that. You can see all my running bits on @abrilliantme

Anyway a book on running seems to be a good idea at this point in time, something inspirational to keep me interested. So many people had mentioned this title to me. The only other book I’ve read on the topic of running was Born to Run and if you want to read any book about running I would also recommend that in a heartbeat.

Murakami’s book is much more of a informal discussion about running and how it fits into his life. It’s a quick read, but one that left me wanting to run another marathon, sign up for a triathlon, run more often (so I upped my training from 3 times a week to 5 or 6) and also to re-read the Great Gatsby. It also hit on something I had been thinking about when I thought about running, what possible point is there in me signing up for events when I’ve no real hope ever of breaking the tape and when I have a very philosophical approach to personal bests (you can’t run the same race twice)? – I’d sort of been turning it over in my mind that for example investing money in entrance fees etc… was perhaps wasteful. I enjoy experiencing the events with people I know and the anticipation and intrinsic pressure that comes in participating in them but I really think it’s the effort involved in the training which remains with me. Over the last 6 months I’ve absorbed the great outdoors outside my home and taken in the normal everyday goings on in town and at the seafront. Aside from walking the dog and the school run, I could easily get very disconnected from other life day to day. I’ve been out in rain, mist, wind, cold, sleet and intense heat this year. I’ve watched the seasons change at the beach, seen it morning, afternoon and evening. I’ve connected to that temporary void that running attains and kicked so many endorphins around my body I’m thoroughly addicted. I’ve been calmer. I’ve slept better. I did then, agree with Murakami that even activities which appear fruitless don’t necessarily end up so.

I appreciated his book for many reasons, but I particularly liked his description of his daily routine and how he manages to do his work around a reasonably uniform timetable that doesn’t please everyone that knows him. Daily routines have intrigued me since reading Mason Currey’s “Daily Rituals” last year – another great read. I think his description of how long distance running figures into his lifestyle as a necessity in order to do the real work spoke to me. Running isn’t for everyone, but when it is for you, you know it.



:: Book Review :: ‘All the Days and Nights’ by Niven Govinden

20th June 2016

Niven Govinden - All the Days and Nights


For the past couple of years on New Years Eve we have been sitting down with a sheet of paper to list 50 of the years “Humble brags” – It’s not really a list for sharing but it’s a great tool for private self congratulation, noting items down that vary with degrees of impressiveness and triviality. Last year I couldn’t come up with 50, but out of the 47 I did manage, I noted the amount of books I’d read in 2015. Since last year, I’ve been tracking my reading through the goodreads app on my phone – if I get a book recommendation from a friend, a magazine or a podcast I add it to my ‘want to read’ shelf and then as I read any book I update my progress daily to see how much progress I’ve made. It’s the kind of person I am, I get a real kick out of seeing how far I’ve made it through the book and keeping track of what I’m reading or going to read. As it stands at the moment I have 515 titles in my ‘to read‘ list.


So the humble brag was that I’d read 27 books, when I wrote that down I was pretty pleased with myself. I had aimed for 20 and I’d done it comfortably. Fitting in reading is a choice, but not one without its many challenges when you are an adult, it means you’ve got to focus and not be interrupted which can be very very difficult. When my children were babies I was so frustrated I wasn’t reading, something I love to immerse myself in, because there was so much to do in the evening, which was my only time to myself. In the end, I came up with a strategy where I’d read just 10 minutes after they’d fallen asleep. I could always find ten minutes and then get to doing the laundry and tidying up. I had to make sure I did it everyday. I didn’t get through that many books, and I had many people say “I don’t know how you do that, how can you get into the story? When I read, I have to sit down for a while and really get into it.” The way I saw it was this was the only way that was making me read consistently, so I took it.


Now, I get to read quite a bit more and it is SUCH a pleasure. I like fiction and non fiction and try to alternate as best I can. When goodreads asked its users to set themselves a challenge for 2016 I thought I’d aim high and typed in 50. Maybe that’s too much, but I’m hoping I can discover a number I can aim for every year. We’re coming up to halfway and I am not going to reach that 50 unless I make reading non negotiable from now on and up my daily reading. Even now I am only setting myself a 20 minute minimum amount of reading time a day, I figure it will whet my appetite to fit more in. As it stands I’ve completed 10 books so far this year.


I’ve reviewed only one read so far this year : ‘A Little Life’ – a book that I feel may eclipse everything else I read in terms of how it became an immersive experience, I lived and breathed that story. I had to recover for quite some time afterward, I found it difficult to pick up another. This post though, is on a book I picked up randomly at the library a few weeks ago. It’s great to have targeted titles to plough through based on their high goodreads rating or recommendation but I feel compelled to throw in a few wildcards this year. This one had promising one liners from the major broadsheets on the back and an interesting premise for a plot. Anna Brown, a dying artist works on her final portrait whilst her husband and life long muse for her work walks out to seek and see for himself the paintings he has sat for over the years.

It was an enjoyable read and an interesting story. You the reader learn to understand the relationship between the artist Anna, rejected by the town in which she lives for the work that she produces and her husband who has an ease, grace and amiability that makes him accepted by everyone. I felt that as I read the book I discovered more about her conviction to do the creative work that she was compelled to do and also why her husband was trying to understand if his life had been one of substance if his one and only role was to sit for her. His journey and his encounters at each of the destinations explain his own motivations and his importance as the subject of her work. The language is gently paced and rich. It is a lovely and subtle read, but I only gave it 3 stars out of 5 in the end. I can’t quite see how the Mail wrote that it was as ‘gripping as any thriller’ – sure you could turn the pages quickly, it was a short novel, but it never got un-put downabble. I’m all about the paperbacks at the moment having spent weeks working my way through a bit of a tome, “The Mountain Shadow” I need to start stacking my completed reads on top of each other so I can hit my target. I’m already on the next title, a Murakami, you can follow all my reads on instagram, the link to my feed is at the bottom of this page.




A little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

17th February 2016

A Little Life


Today feels like the right day to write about this book because I received a text message from my mother in law earlier who was in the car park of John Lewis and I quote, “crying her eyes out” (I’ve removed the expletive… no problem Elaine!) after listening to one of the chapters of the book on audible. Now, from what I gather, she’s only about a third of the way through and all I can tell you is if you’re crying then, at that point in the story, it’s not going to be the last time.

I think I saw this book in the window display in Waterstones last autumn and stuck it on my goodreads list because I saw it had been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. That was recommendation enough for me. Around Christmas time I got it out at the library, tentatively to be honest as a few reviews said it was really depressing. Now, December was a bit of a weird month for me for all number of reasons, it had high highs and low lows. Resting up in bed toward the end after feeling like a total write off (read:shit), I picked this up and was all of a sudden landed in New York to meet Jude & Willem & JB & Malcolm. I wasn’t up for depressing, but though it was a heavy read it wasn’t depressing. It was a book about love, really, ultimately what it is to love. I didn’t look back, I just got so caught up in it. Isn’t it the most wonderful and rare feeling to read something that does that to you, that sets off a kind of heartfire? So few times in my life I read a book whose entirely fictitious characters I have felt so connected to, so worried about. I was with these guys from the start, noting their idiosyncrasies and insecurities, the way they behaved, the ways they shared, what they were interested in, how their dynamic worked. I felt for all of them, but in particular Willem and Jude. Jude for his brilliance and fragility and Willem for being so incredibly kind, his lightness of being jumped off the page.

It is so beautifully written it made me ache, for example, on describing the light in JB’s studio: “At five thirty, the light was perfect: buttery and dense and fat somehow, swelling the room as it had the train into something expensive and hopeful.”

And my favourite quote entirely that sums up everything in life, said during a particularly heartbreaking scene: “Things get broken, and sometimes they get repaired, and in most cases you realise that no matter what gets damaged, life rearranges itself to compensate for your loss, sometimes wonderfully.”

This story does have some upsetting and disturbing content within it’s pages. Sometimes I had to set it aside before I was able to return to it because it was so intense (a friend has since read it and done the very same thing) . But there are moments of expansiveness, of incredible love and kindness that balance the sadness.

I won’t give any spoilers here. I want you to read it and get swept up too. One of the funnest things was being able to read along with people on instagram, from Sydney to Kentucky messages were exchanged: ‘did you get to?’ ‘Oh my God, I couldn’t believe…’ and all of us in agreement that we would love to really know and hang out Willem & Jude & Malcolm & JB.

You can ‘follow’ the book on instagram @alittlelifebook where there’s a link to the art work of the boys names which you can get printed onto totes, mugs… whatever you like. I am, for sure, going to make myself up a t-shirt.

I finished the book in mid January. I don’t buy a lot of books any more, but this one made the shelf, it hasn’t left me, I will return to it again and again like an old friend. A real must-read.


A Little Life on the shelf



Books Crochet This week

:: This week ::

24th January 2016

:: What I’m making

Granny Squares

Granny Squares

I’m hooking up a ton of these squares for two baby blanket commissions. Almost at the stitch up. Love the combination

:: Listening to

Adele’s Hello High Contrast bootleg remix. I unashamedly love Adele but I was quite frankly absolutely SICK of listening to ‘Hello’. This has refreshed it somewhat – I definitely like extremely cheesy drum and bass, I find it makes me run faster, I’m not sure this will have quite the right magic but I’m going to enjoy singing along to it with feeling as I run around Brighton (silently. with headphones)

Podcasts: I’ve listened to –  The minimalists, The Mind Palace and the Slow your home podcast. All variations on the theme of intentional living.

:: Reading

A little life - the best book I have read in a VERY long time


Since my last post I finished ‘A little life‘ and ‘Being Mortal‘ – reviews to follow, both were extremely good in their own way. Following that I picked up and finished Marie Kondo’s ‘The life changing magic of tidying‘ – that lady really is the best kind of crackers. I have ‘discarded’ so much from my house this week. I think I’ve ditched close to 200 books. My wardrobe is so minimal I can barely believe it. I have always loved Karen Kingston’s ‘Clear your clutter‘ but something about Kondo’s ‘tidy all at once’ system has worked really well for me, she may have funny ideas about sock abuse (not what you think) but I do quite like her idea that things ‘want’ to be useful and are ‘sad’ if they aren’t fulfilling their purpose. Now I’m onto Alice Miller’s ‘The drama of being a child‘ and I’ve picked up Dan Millman’s ‘The journey’s of Socrates‘.

The life changing magic of tidying up


The Drama of being a child


You can see all the books I’m reading, what’s on my list and what I’ve rated here.

:: Watching

This – if it was a snow day – this would be the way to spend it.

:: Making me happy this week

  • Running – I’m doing the you vs the year challenge on the map my run app. The idea is to run 1000km in 2016. I’ve clocked my target easily this week. I just signed up for a 10k in June and I’m in the ballot to do the Great North run again in September but I’ve definitely got a place in Brighton’s Bright10. I love running and I think because I’m combining this with the Kayla Itsines workout 3 times a week, all those squats and burpees are actually making me faster. Don’t get me wrong, the first 15 minutes are always a bit crappy but then it just feels easier.
  • Rocco. I’m loving our very early morning weekend walks. I tell the dog everything. And he never talks back.

Me & Rocco

  • Editing the stuff in our house. I’ve spent the last week sorting, ditching and donating. I’ve got a fair bit to list and sell yet so the work is not completely done but this house is definitely lighter after all my efforts and it is feeling pretty great to have less.
  • The Way of life app. This app is AMAZING. Up until I got my phone very wet on Friday and it died, I was tracking the following: that I’d had a green drink, meditating, running, writing, reading, listening to the children read, making sure I had made time to play with the kids. When I get my phone back I’ll be posting the tracking @abrilliantme on instagram. It is such an effective way to make sure you hit everything you want to do in a day, I thoroughly recommend it.
Books Crochet This week

:: This week ::

3rd January 2016

Christmas week pretty much kicked my ass – so this week, has of sorts been about getting back on my game doing all the normal life things like getting on top of the laundry, taking the kids cycling, walking the dog, making stuff, reading, Oh God! The reading… the absolute highlight, but we’ll get to that. So this is the current format for this year on a Sunday – what I’m making, listening to, reading & watching with a brief happy list and my favourite stuff on instagram.

First up:

:: what I’m making

I got serious with my baboushka blanket this week. I’ve been wanting to make one of these since I saw it on pinterest a couple of years ago and now the perfect little person has arrived to give me an excuse. I’ve crocheted baubles until I could do it no more and it’s so nice to be making something else.

First stage of the blocks - the flowers.

First stage of the blocks – the flowers.


Next up, the leaves

Next up, the leaves.


Then I bordered in blue.

Then I bordered in blue.


A single crochet red border.

A single crochet red border.


Now I'm just waiting for them to dry.

Now I’m just waiting for them to dry.

:: listening to

  • kiasmos – I got to tell you, I’d been listening to a bit too much Adele in December and I’m close to puking every time I hit play on ‘hello’ now, so this is quite the electronic antidote – I like ‘swept’.
  • Derek Sivers on the Tim Ferriss podcast. I listened to the first podcast Tim had with Sivers earlier in December – he’s an interesting guy. I like his story – how he went from being a musician to a circus clown to a multi-millionaire by learning to code and serving his fellow artists. I like that he has no routine to his day and that he can focus and so thoroughly lose himself in one activity alone. It’s completely antithetical to how I try to live my life but it fascinates me how other people manage their time and there’s something particularly fascinating about this man and his take on the world.
  • The rest of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons – after seeing this woman speak in London during last November and reading ‘Big Magic‘ I feel like something sparked up in me. You listen to the doubt and the worry that the women have on this podcast about beginning or being good enough and you really start to realise, you just have to begin, you have to start. To get your creative work done, you have to show up consistently, everyday, even when you least feel like it or when you feel most blocked. I loved Brene Brown’s quote ‘unused creativity is not benign’ – we are all creative – when we don’t use our creativity to communicate with inspiration bad stuff manifests in our lives, guilt, depression, frustration, sadness, unhappiness. Powerful stuff, I recommend it.

:: reading

  • Oh My God. I am reading the best book I have read in some time, in years even. On instagram I’ve been in contact with people from Kentucky to Sydney, everyone awestruck at just HOW WELL a story can be written and how much we have all felt as a result. It is already in the top three best books I have ever read alongside ‘the god of small things’ and ‘the goldfinch.’ I picked up Hanya Yanagihara’s ‘A little life’ at the tail end of December but only began a week or so ago. I really feel as I read it, with each beautifully constructed sentence, that I have been swept away and woven into an epic story of friendship and tragedy. I feel the relationships between Jude and Willem and JB and Malcolm in a rare way that not every book manages. I feel the understandings and the incomprehension and the love, the sadness and the trauma that exists between them all. I have cried 4 times and I’m just halfway through, it’s bleak, but in so many ways hopeful. The story digs deep into each of the inner lives of the characters, who they are, how they think, why they love. I can’t describe it – I just want you to read it, all it’s fragility and all it’s disturbing content and all it’s wonder and brilliance. It is similar in tone to Donna Tartt’s ‘the secret history’ but is so entirely different it almost feels incomparable. I can’t put this work down, so much so, I worry about when and how it will end and whether I will find anything to follow it.

:: watching

  • Friday night lights. We’ve just done season 1. Tim frikking Riggins. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go on netflix. You’re welcome.

:: making me happy this week


  • Walking up Firle Beacon with friends.
  • Did I mention Tim Riggins???
  • That I made George fried eggs he said were like ‘something from a film.’ High praise indeed.
  • Watching Ruby paint all day long, from the morning, through to the afternoon and then well into the night because she couldn’t sleep. She was completely in the zone, it was such a joy to watch and she created piece after piece after piece, each of them wrapped up for daddy’s birthday this week. Oh, she was a complete nightmare the following day too.
  • Mexican food and chats with my friend Ellie.
  • My flipagram for 2015
  • My 50 humble brags list for 2015. On New Years Eve between the dog walk and the tidying I wrote 50 things I was proud of during 2015 (truthfully I only managed 47) It included things like ‘kept the children going,’ ‘teaching the kids to cycle without stabilisers’ ‘running bright 10’ ‘first craft fair’ & ‘selling a blanket to the USA’. They are all small but significant reasons why the year was great.

:: Instagram account of the week

As I happened to recommend this already this week I’m going for @hotdudesreading, again, you are welcome.

:: Instaquote of the week

I shamelessly stole this from ‘A little life’ and put it onto instagram myself because it was so beautiful.

A little life