Sunday, 23 April 2017

Adele | live in Concert

Seeing Adele live in concert was as amazing as you’d imagine. My sisters, mum and I went to see Adele when she came to Adelaide, back in March. The atmosphere that welled up in the cavernous space of the Adelaide Oval was really something, especially when Adele begun singing the first notes of Hello, still veiled behind the giant curtain, and the audience went crazy.

It always takes a few songs for my ears to adjust to the vibrating loudness of concerts, but even with that the first song of the concert was spine-tingling. Hello is one of my favourite songs and was a perfect opening. Other highlights were hearing Water Under The Bridge and Set Fire To The Rain, both sounded incredible live.
And then there was perhaps my favourite part of concerts, the banter. Adele is hilarious. I’d have happily just listened to her stories all night, but then again you wouldn’t want to miss hearing her vocals in that atmosphere. In any atmosphere, really. She’s also so warm and down to earth. I’m even more of a fan after seeing her live than I was before.

It was such a great night out, singing along, laughing and dancing with the girls. I love that it’s a side effect of going to concerts that afterward, when you listen to the CD, the memories of that live rendition and that night echo in your head and make the music that bit more special.

(And yes, I collected the confetti!)

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Bits and Bobs #3

READ | My uni reading list is almost done! Currently reading The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, with The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad to go!

WRITE | Planning to revise some stories to start submitting to various places, plus looking at getting back into my novel planning.

WATCH/GO | Been going to the cinema a lot lately, which is quite unusual but extremely enjoyable! Saw Logan and Ghost in the Shell with the buds, both were enjoyable enough but had odd plot structures.
Also, watched Rouge One last night. There were some weird things but I really enjoyed it.

GET | I’ve acquired a delightful number of books recently. The Good People by Hannah Kent at Writers Week (which she signed), The Song of Lunch by Christopher Reid (a gift from a friend) and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (won in a giveaway).

ETC. | The last week I’ve been back at home because of the uni break. Unfortunately, I’ve also been a bit sick but getting better with awhile left to enjoy home. My brother set up a makeshift desk for me to study at and I’m working hard to set myself up well for the next term!

Also, Happy Easter! Here’s to a glorious, chocolate-filled long weekend.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Book Series | The Extraordinaires

Kingsley Ward’s wolfishness was a problem. If it weren’t the howling, it was the occasional desire to bite boorish people, which was rarely acceptable, no matter how boorish the boor. If 1908 were going to be a good year, however, he would have to maintain his control when it was his turn to walk onto the stage of the Alexandra Theatre. 

The Extraordinaires series is a favourite of mine. Written by one of my favourite authors, Michael Pryor, it’s full of fun, adventure, witty dialogue and great characters all nicely packaged in two well written novels.
What can I say about this series without sounding like a crazy fangirl? Probably nothing, I’ll continue nevertheless. The series follows the adventures of Kingsley, an aspiring escapologist. He was raised by wolves and is extremely loveable. Kingsley is aided by the fabulous Evadne, who’s sassy, clever, layered and interesting while avoiding becoming one of those all capable, completely flawless ‘strong’ female characters. The adventures these two get up to are exciting, unexpected and rollicking good fun.

Book one, The Extinction Gambit, sees Kingsley getting caught up in a plot for world domination, immortal sorcerers, Neanderthals, underground worlds and magic.
Book two, The Subterranean Stratagem, continues the adventures but becomes more personal, focusing more on Kingsley’s quest to uncover his mysterious past. The twists and turns are plentiful and satisfying and it’s funny, the entrance of the character Finny is one of my favourite moments of the novel.

Both books have great pace, stories and an array of interesting characters that keep you entertained and interested. The second book is my favourite by a smidgeon, but both are amazing self-contained stories.
One of the things that I love about these books is how Pryor handles multiple points of view to give the reader more access to what’s happening in the story, creating tension by letting the reader know more than any single character. What makes this even more special and delightful is how each different point of view it written differently to make you feel like you are in the minds of these characters.

In a lot of ways the series is similar to Pryor’s outstandingly amazing The Laws of Magic series, yet equally it’s quite different. It’s similar in that it’s set in an early 20th century Britain with magic, has a sassy female character and an extremely likeable male protagonist. But it is different in how it sets up magic, the dynamic between the two leads, its use of multiple points of view and the overall feel of the world and story.
If you loved Pryor’s Laws of Magic series (and why wouldn't you?), I think you’ll love this.

I’m incredibly sad there is currently no third novel coming in the foreseeable future, but at least I am able to reread the glorious two that are available to me!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Quote | Nothing is the New Black

Currently very much looking forward to the uni break coming up. However, I won’t be lounging around, doing nothing (well, not all of the time), rather I’ll be trying to get ahead on all the essays due in the last half of semester and get all my English reading more or less done.

The amount of assignments I have after the break is daunting but I’m looking forward to expanding on various ideas and thinking about texts critically.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

For the Love of the Con

To drown my sorrows of not going to Comic Con this year, I thought I’d take a trip down the memory lane of conventions past…

It all started in 2015 with a tumblr gif set announcing Billie Piper (!!) was coming to Adelaide for Comic Con and my discovering it wouldn’t leave me completely broke to go to see her. It was actually during a really stressful period of study, so it was perfect timing for an escape. Amy, James and I waited in line two and a half hours for BP’s autograph, which (at the risk of sounding like a complete fangirl, which really I am) was totally, unquestionably worth it. During the brief signing and lightning fast photo session, she really made you feel like she was happy to be there and she took the time for everyone. It’s such a lovely feeling to meet someone you’re a fan of and have them be so sweet in real life.
We also got to meet and greet the one and only Michael Shanks (aka Daniel Jackson) and listen to various actors talk on panels (Billy Boyd was a highlight). The array of stalls filled with geeky stuff, good food, nice guests and fun panels made the experience one the three of us were super keen to repeat.
And so begun my love of conventions.

The following year, Amy and I cosplayed as Hufflepuff students, as you do, and met Xena, also known as Lucy Lawless. We had a lot of lovely compliments on our cosplay, which delighted and surprised both of us. Karl Urban and John Rhys-Davies were panel highlights.

Then in November (too warm for cosplay), we attended Supanova for the first time. It was much bigger than I expected. While there were aspects that made me feel that Comic Con is the better of the cons, Supanova was a lot of fun.
As big Charmed fans, it was a thrill for Amy and I to see Holly Marie Combs but the highlight of the con was meeting and listening to Nathan Fillion. His panel was one of the best of all the cons and he was just really lovely, one of those people that you feel more of a fan of after meeting than you were before.
And now I’ll go back to counting down the days til Supanova…
Three things we learnt at the first con that we’ve been paying heed to ever since…

1. Don’t give up perfectly good seats hoping to get better, it’s not worth it & could backfire (Let’s not talk about the Billie Piper panel).
2. It is worth spending more on autographs/photos, rather than worrying about having enough for cool fan stuff. The experience is worth more than the items.
3. Getting there an hour before it opens is worth it (especially if you haven’t pre-ordered tokens).

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Book Series | Cardcaptor Sakura

Cardcaptor Sakura is one of my favourite manga and anime series. Cardcaptors, as I knew it originally, follows the story of Sakura after she accidently breaks the seal on The Clow, releasing a set of magical cards that all wreak chaos on the world until she can recapture them. Sakura is helped by Kero, the guardian of the Clow who give loves eating and making sassy remarks, her friend Tomoyo, who provides the appropriate costumes and moviemaking services and rival Syaoran, who arrives to take on the task of recapturing the cards himself.

The series is a lot of fun. I loved watching and reading it as a kid and still love it as much today! It’s a fun, magical girl adventure. It’s humorous, light and cute. I love Sakura as a character because she’s always so optimistic and tries her hardest no matter what. There are two arcs to Sakura’s story, the first is the best but the second definitely doesn’t disappoint.
And there is a third arc on the way, which I’m quite excited about, hopefully it’s as good as the other two!

But in the meantime, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle features an alternative world Sakura and Syaoran and is also amazing.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Quote | I'm already wise enough

....maybe not quite.
Uni started this week and I’m slowly (but surely) remembering how to do things.

Also, Adelaide Writers’ Week started yesterday! Ugh, so happy! I wish I could spend all week sitting in the shade listening to authors talk but, alas, uni calls.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Craft | summer holidays edition

This summer holidays I managed to successfully mix things I “had” to do in order to be organised and ready for uni and fun things that I hadn’t had a chance to do because of uni, and that meant making some serious time for crafting. I started a number of projects and even finished some! This year I hope to do a lot more making.



Sewing is something I love to do, even though it’s so hard. I was determined to get something sewn during the holidays. With my Mum’s help, I made up this skirt in time to celebrate Christmas on Boxing Day with my Babcia.

I love the fabric because it looks very Polish to me. I’m planning a simple shirt out of the leftovers.

Pompom Garland // Pillow 

To help brighten up my college room, I spent many-a-nights making pompoms to turn into a garland for the wall (they are attached to a crocheted rope Mum made) and it turned out so cute.
And this little pillow was something I had made during the winter holidays, all it needed was to add some cool trimming. Something about the colours of this trim reminds me of my childhood. I love it.

Works in Progress 

I started a couple of other projects that I didn’t quite managed to finish before I had to actually start packing.
This simple floral shirt is something I’d half sewn at some time or another. I tried to get it done but it still needs a hem, sleeves and some buttons.
And then, inspired by this Oh Joy tutorial that actually features the exact throw I have, I started to decorate my bed throw with some fun colour.

Also, not pictured, I finally started my Messy Book by completing three pages (a 2016 overview and the title page). It’s really so much fun and much easier than traditional scrapbooking.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

The English Review Vol. 3 | Film Studies

I actually studied Film Studies for my Art History minor, but it is an English course technically. I really enjoyed my film tutorials and learning a little about a lot of different things you need to know for film studies, such as film history and filmic techniques (a little bit I already knew from photography and my previous Art history course).

In Bruges (Dir. Martin McDonagh, 2008) & The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Dir. Robert Wiene, 1920) 

In Bruges was an odd, funny film. Unnecessarily gruesome in unexpected places, it was also silly and funny.

I would never have gotten through The Cabinet of Dr Caligari if Mum hadn’t volunteered to watch it with me. A slow film with an odd story, making for a slightly bizarre introduction to silent film.


The Third Man (Dir. Carol Reed, 1949) & Chicago (Dir. Rob Marshall, 2002) 

One of my two favourite films of the course. I really appreciated the complex female character of Ana in The Third Man. She wasn’t a simple love interest that fell for the main character. The whole film was good. It had a fun plot, great writing and an unusual soundtrack.

Chicago was an entertaining musical that cleverly weaved the musical numbers within the story. It really got going half way through.

The Intouchables (Dir. Olivier Nakache & Éric Toledano, 2011) & Rear Window (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1954) 

Lighthearted, The Intouchables was an enjoyable French film. It was interesting to look at how the cinematography reflected the characters’ emotions.

I really liked Rear Window. It was an entertaining movie with a vibe in similar to Agatha Christie adaptions, which I love. It was nice to see active female characters, even if they were motivated by the male protagonist.

Chinatown (Dir. Roman Polanski, 1974) & Once Were Warriors (Dir. Lee Tamahori, 1994)

Chinatown was a good film. It looked good, had an interesting plot, a touch of humour and a dramatic end.

 I’m not sure how I feel about Once Were Warriors. It’s quite a violent film and some scenes were hallowing. The dialogue was often a bit clunky and you could tell it was made in the 90’s. But it was a good film to address and think about Postcolonial theory.

Thelma and Louise (Dir. Ridley Scott, 1991) 

My other favourite film of the course, Thelma and Louise wasn’t the happy-go-lucky roadtrip movie I was expecting, but it was as good as I hoped. Thelma and Louise is known as a feminist film and it doesn’t disappoint in that sense. The central relationship in the film is the female leads’ friendship, which is refreshing, and the film plays with female and male stereotypes.
Unfortunately, despite what some feared and some hoped, Thelma and Louise didn’t quite revolutionise film, there is still plenty of inequality. However, it is an inspiring, iconic film.
Honourable mention to Battleship Potemkin, which screened as an extracurricular activity. It was a much easier silent film to watch than The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and was my first experience with soviet montage.

And that was Film Studies, a really fun course!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Bits and Bobs #2

ORGANISE | my greatest accomplishment of the summer holidays was to go through my room, sorting all the papers and odds and ends that have been cramming all available space in my room for, no joke, years. I love to be organised but am also hopelessly sentimental, so it was a difficult but super rewarding process. Now I know everything I have and it’s all neatly stored. I’m still kind of amazed I’ve finally done it!

WRITE | other than drafting a lot of blog posts (yay!), I actually wrote two short stories! Currently polishing one up for a competition. Feels good to be complete a writing project.

READ | reading Jane Eyre and loving it as much as I hoped. Also, really looking forward to sneaking in another Series of Unfortunate Events before I continue uni reading. After the fourth book I’ll have finished my reread and be on to the books I never got to.

WATCH | we started making our way through old Jackie Chan movies (Police Story, Project A, etc.) on New Year’s Eve and I’m loving them, so much fun. Also just finished the Great British Bake Off and currently, shamelessly, watching MKR.

GET | an accidental (but glorious) Sailor Moor theme in this category. Adam (my Secret Santa) got me this super cute Sailor Moon figure for Christmas and I bought myself a Luna backpack/handbag.

CRAFT | current project is finishing a floral shirt that I’d half sewn. I’d completely forgotten about it until mum found it with other half-done projects. Aiming to get it done before the holidays end. I’ve also been making lots of pompoms and have made a garland that shall adorn my dorm room.

ETC. | current focus is doing lots of bits and bobs to prepare for moving back to the city and starting uni again. Thankfully, I’ve managed to be quite productive this week, getting jobs done that I’ve been avoiding.
Next week is packing!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Book Review | The Red Queen By Isobelle Carmody

The Red Queen {Book 7} 

It’s rather bittersweet finishing a series you’ve been reading for ten-odd years. Surreal to finally know everything, sad to have no more pages of the characters and world you love to discover and satisfying to have finished such a mammoth book. I loved the conclusion to the Obernewtyn Chronicles, there’s a few things I’d like to discuss, but first…

SPOILER ALERT: It’s rather hard to write a review for a finale book without giving a bit away. While I won’t be talking in any great detail at all, if you’re like me, you won’t want to know ANYTHING, so please be warned from here on in

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Film | May & June, 2016

Last year I decided to get back into film photography and bought a three pack of film. I shot one on one of my brother’s thrifted camera (which, confusingly, doesn’t show the focus) and the other two on the old family EOS.

My photography is a little rusty, especially on film, so the results were hit and miss, but I love shooting with film. The practice of taking that extra time to compose and then the excitement of receiving your printed film, it’s just that little bit more magic than snapping away with a digital camera. I finished them all before the end of semester one and have since bought more film, but I’m still on my first roll this time round…

Here are a few of my favourite shots!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The English Review Vol. 2 | Landmarks in English Literature

My second English course was Landmarks in English Literature, which is possibly my favourite English course to date. I mean, I’ve only done three, but still. I really enjoyed learning more about the evolution of the novel as a form and how it and the people who created them were thought of from the 1400’s to the 2000’s.

Prologue of the Wife of Bath’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer & The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Trying to read Middle English in Chaucer’s Prologue of the Wife of Bath’s Tale was like trying to read another language. Reading aloud helped make the meaning clearer, however I still struggled. It’s interesting in that its female storyteller challenges notions of a woman’s ability to remarry, however it does stick to a traditional notion of women, so not sure whether you could call this a feminist text…but then again, how much I understood it is debatable.

I was surprised to find reading Shakespeare’s The Tempest was not nearly as difficult as I expected. I had to read Hamlet for past studies and it took two read throughs and then an audiobook before I could understand it. Maybe it was having just read Chaucer, but this time around, I realised Shakespeare’s English actually isn’t as different as it first appears. The story of The Tempest was…weird and the characters weren’t terribly complex (it is meant to be a play, so I’m sure it’s more entertaining on the stage), yet it was amusing and, need it even be said, well written.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen & New Grub Street by George Gissing

Northanger Abbey was my favourite read of the course and aided me in my mission to read all of Jane Austen’s works. It’s much lighter and shorter than Pride and Prejudice, but really interesting in its narration on the place and importance of the novel at the time (as well as books written by and for women).

New Grub Street was both depressing in the lives and fates of its characters and fascinating in offering a view of the publishing industry (albeit a pretty pessimistic one) in the late 1800s. I enjoyed it, despite its grim tone.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel & A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan 

The only graphic novel I read during the first year of English studies, Fun Home was a quick read full of intertextuality (quite a lot I probably wouldn’t have gotten on my own) and an interesting structure where every chapter started earlier in the timeline than the previous one ended.

I enjoyed A Visit from the Goon Squad far more than I expected (I’m always scared by postmodernism). The 13 chapters are written like separate stories from different characters’ perspectives, timelines all jumbled, but they all interconnect in small ways. I especially liked Selling the General.

This course covered such a range of genres and styles and a long timeline, it was a great way to get to know literary history a bit more!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

TBR | Summer Edition

I’m naturally a slow reader, so I might be being incredibly ambitious with this list. Perhaps I’ve gone mad with power now that my natural reading speed has increased due to learning to read quicker for study.
But this is my no-pressure, would-be-nice summer reading list.

Required Reading 

The Shining by Stephen King // Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë // Hard Times by Charles Dickens // No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy 

I’m getting a head start on my uni reading, hoping to read The Shining and Jane Eyre and, if I have time, it would be amazing to get Hard Times and No Country for Old Men started (but I'm not really planning on that...).
I’m studying Victorian literature and Adaptations this coming semester, and really looking forward to both! But Adaptations means I’ll be watching the movies versions of the some of the books I read, so I’m also aiming to watch The Shining while I’m still safe at home...


A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket // Harry Potter by JK Rowling 

Ah, rereading! When I was younger the thought of being able to reread something seemed magical and impossible, but after seeing ads for A Series of Unfortunate Events on Instagram I felt inspired to finish the series. I only ever made it to book 4 and it’s been so long since I read them the first time that I’m rereading them before I continue on with the series. So far, it’s as fun and humorous as I remembered.

I’m also going to begin rereading the Harry Potter series, as I’ve been wanting to for a while. I probably won’t get to this during the summer, but it’ll be a good way to not get sick of Unfortunate Events by reading them all in a row and also, it’s Harry Potter.

Maybe I should also reread Lily Quench (another favourite childhood series)...

Library Finds 

Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón // Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff 

I really shouldn’t have picked up any library books, I only went there to collect an ice cream making book I had on request, but these two novels sounded too interesting to leave. The Prince of the Mist is a short, fantasy novel by a Spanish author, which sounded interesting and I’ve been wanting to read more translated works, so this is a start!

And I’ve seen Illuminae around a lot of bookish Instagrams and wondered what all the fuss was about. Its structure looks completely non-traditional. I’m apprehensive but curious to give this one a go.


I Call Myself A Feminist edited by Pepe, et. // A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf // We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie // Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

I’m not sure which of these I’ll end up reading, but it would be nice to at least start one. I bought them all mid last year as I really want to read more about feminism and representation (which are passions of mine) and all these books sound amazing!

And that’s my summer reading list!

Friday, 6 January 2017

2016 // 2017

2016 // an adventurous year 

Thinking back to the beginning of last year, it feels like forever ago. 2016 was a year of adventure: living in the city during semester, starting a new uni course (on campus this time) and, in the dying days of the year, starting a novel project and dedicating time to blog writing. Just as Bilbo (my 2016 spirit animal) grew from his adventure, so I did from mine. By the end of the second semester I was finally use to living in the city and had figured out a schedule that worked for me. 

I didn’t do as much fiction writing as I’d have liked, but I did make a marked improvement on my academic skills, which is handy since I have at least two and a half more years of needing them. 

Overall, it was a good year that challenged me in lots of ways and I met those challenges better than I expected. 

2017 // a productive year 

My hopes and goals for 2017 aren’t very specific, as I’m not making a year list this year (I’m going for shorter term lists, one for the summer, then semester one, and so on…) but I do want to do more this year. Because of my plans to study abroad in 2018 (!!), I’ll be taking three subjects instead of four each semester, giving me a bit more free time (until I finally manage to get some casual work…). I also feel, entering my third year of uni (second in this course), I’ve finally got a method that works for me and will allow me space for personal projects.

I want to write more this year, that’s my main goal. Everything else, other than writing and study, needs to be for fun. I want to continue to remember to enjoy what I’m doing and not add additional, unnecessary stress to my life. 

I’m looking forward to what the year will bring for me. I hope it brings good challenges and adventures for you, too!!

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