Thursday, June 14, 2012

[summer reads]

Linking up with Mrs. Readalot for this months book club.

This months topic is a sort 'recommended reads for the season.'  It is (supposedly) summer here in England, although this week hasn't felt much like summer!  Summer in New Zealand makes me think of light reading, chick flicks, comedies, but in Britain it feels like anything could go with this winter like weather!  So I thought I'd share my updated list of what is on my kindle wishlist.

(Also here are some of my previous book reviews - some got lost in 'the great blog disaster of 2012')

(Note, you can't 'click to look inside from here but if you follow the link to the amazon page I've given you, you can click to look inside there!)

Bel Ami is about to become a movie, and I always like books turned into movies for interests sake.  The book was written in 1885 by a writer who later was committed to an asylum and died.  Interesting somehow, although the story itself may be a little scandalous for my taste.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is also a movie but looks like a fun and light read for summer days in Morocco (where I'm going in a few weeks!)  Both the book and the movie boast some great reviews for a funny yet heartwarming story.

Mrs. Readalot herself has been reading this series.  I have seen the first television season of 'A Game of Thrones' and I loved it.  My Guy has the second season for us to watch but I'm pretty keen to get into the book series too.  It's already on my kindle waiting for me!

This may not interest everybody (anybody) but it is on my kindle wishlist so here it is!  Oxford Handbook of Neonatology.  I'm currently working in a neonatal (newborn baby) unit so this is interesting to me even if it isn't to you!

When I was younger I saw this man - Elie Wiesel - on Oprah.  An amazing man who survived Auschwitz as a child and wrote a book about it.  I cried when I saw him on Oprah and have had a morbid (yet respectful) fascination with Auschwitz and the other camps since then.  I suspect I may bawl in 'Night' too.
(Sidenote:  Have you seen 'The boy in the striped pyjamas?'  Terrible, awesome film.)

This book 'Three Weeks to say Goodbye' is interesting to me because it is about a couple that adopt a child, and then have to fight to keep her when the bilogical father decides he wants her back.  I'm interested in adoption in general, and stories like this do actually happen.  The law is vague and biased.

'Lone Wolf' is the only book on my list of recommended reads that I can actually recommend (the only one I've read!).  If you like Jodi Picoult, you'll like this.  I was feeling a bit tired of her same old moral/ethical/courtroom buzz, but this is fresh and new.  Try it, I think you'll like it.

Also interestingly, Jodi Picoult has written a book for young adults with her teenage daughter, called 'Between the Lines' which is available for pre-order now.  I'll read it out of interest, to see how a collaboration goes down!

I'll be posting reviews as I read these books, so check my 'hot reads' page for more info at a later date.  What are you going to be reading this summer/winter?!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

geeksville... and proud...

See my other posts about our trip to Vancouver and Whistler here.

On our final day in Vancouver, we had a little extra time to kill, so in true geek fashion we headed to the local botanical gardens.  If you can't handle nerdiness, hit your escape key now (do people still use escape keys?)  If you want to see gorgeous plant life, and colours you couldn't make up in your wildest imagination - then hang in there.

 To add to the geek theme, we wore matching jackets.  Die hard geeks.

Heading into spring, all the flowers were in bloom, and there was every colour imaginable (and more.)

I felt like I appreciated the imagination and creativity of a God who wants us to enjoy life!

I revelled in the deliciousness that was around me...  (romantic gag)

I stopped a while to smell the... uh... red ones.

Hope you enjoyed this journey into dweebsville with me.

Thus ends the trilogy that was our trip to Canada - country of awesomeness.

* Originally written for


Dear future techological me,

I know it may seem 'olden days' to you, but smart phones are currently the 'in thing'.  We don't have communication devices implanted in our brains yet so we have to make do with carrying something around.  

And this week, mine broke.

The only picture I have of technology.  We love it, but we don't photograph it.  Weird.

I never realised how much I used it (or maybe I was in denial) until I didn't have one anymore.  My battery went funny (so technical) and the phone wouldn't charge.  I had to use my housemates old little phone - it has a black and white screen and doesn't even take photos...  I had no contacts, no way of finding out how many calories in an all day breakfast panini, no way to tell how long my bus would be, or whether the tube was even running.  What a saddo.

Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't be without a smart phone now - I don't know how people do it without them.  Paper maps?  Books?  Asking for directions?  Fooey.

What a sad and tragic life I live, when all my comings and goings, my communication with friends and family are all entwined into a rectangular device which holds my life in the palm of its... well, whatever they have instead of hands... gigabytes?  For that one day I actually felt lost.  I didn't know what to do with my hands.  I brought a magazine so I would have something to do on the bus on my way home.

So future technological me, when they try to implant something into your brain, remember this lesson. Life is still for living.  Technology is meant to help us make our lives easier and free-er, not live it for us.  Put down your phone (or power off your in-brain communication device) and have a sit down dinner with your family.  Use a paper map.  Listen to the radio.  Read a real book.  Smile at a stranger.  Be present.  

Love, awkard limbs when something isn't in my hand me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

when it snows...

If I thought Vancouver was amazing, and beautiful - I was doubly impressed with Whistler.  One of the best places I've been, ever.  I got to spend my 29th birthday there, by myself looking around the town and appreciating every part of it.  

Come with me through your computer screen...

Whistler was the home of the winter olympics in 2010.  There are some super cool structures left over, not to mention cute cafes and shops.

We headed up the mountain for a spot of snow...

It snowed while we were up there - see the shape of the snowflake on my arm?  It looks like a real snowflake shape.  Cool beans.
(Feel free to avoid looking at my frodo fingers.)

Me and My Guy looking like total tourists in amongst all the die hard skiing fans on the last weekend of ski season.

I got trapped under the gate on my way up the hill...  You should really stay clear to avoid injury...

Farewell, sweet Whistler.  It was fun while it lasted.
See you again soon.

*Originally written for

Friday, June 8, 2012

there are some places...

Oh Canada.

Canada is quite similar to New Zealand, so going there felt strangely familiar somehow.  My Guy and I went for a five day trip, to Vancouver and Whistler.  And it was cool.  So cool.

I think I'll do a three part series - a trilogy of sorts.

Part one : Vancouver city.

We were in Vancouver for a day, then travelled up to Whistler for three days, and back to Vancouver for the final day.  It rained the whole time we were in Vancouver - I was a little nervous to take the real camera out, so it's iphone pics (not my best work) mixed with real ones.

Airports are always so cool to me...  I love people watching and the thrill of going somewhere new.

 Flying, on the other hand, is less awesome every time I do it.

 Lost luggage (for a while) - also not cool at all.

Next morning I do some planning.  My Guy is at a training day and I have some sights to see! 

 Such as...  

  Granville Island markets for awesome sights (and purchases)...

 Including places to charge up your electric vehicle...

 And grape flavoured apples (why, oh why?!).

After some lunch and a look around, I headed back on the aquabus to the mainland. 

I walked back in the rain (with my new umbrella), along pretty streets lined with pink flowers.

And my favourite flower - the tulip.

Once we'd been to Whistler (post on that to come...), we drove this beast back to Vancouver - on the wrong side of the road.  Well, we drove on the right side but it was the wrong side.  Get it?  Sweet crumbs alive, I must have looked like a child driving this thing.

 We stopped off along the way for some sights and history lessons.
(This photo is probably wildly inappropriate, culturally speaking.)

There is some of the most amazing, peaceful scenery in Canada....  Just breathtaking.

Also Vancouver cityscapes.

Vancouver delivered, oh yes it did.

Stay tuned for Part two : Whistler!

*  Originally written for