The last ten books I’ve read

In January I read three books, which I wrote about here. Since then, it’s taken me the last 11 months of 2014 to read another 10. That means I’ve only read 13 books in total this year! This is probably less books per year than ever before. I think it’s mostly because I’ve used a lot of my commute time lately to listen to podcasts. Also, I read The Luminaries which was a mammoth tomb and took forever!

The last 10 books

So, from start to finish, these are the last 10 books I’ve read this year:

1) Let’s talk about diabetes with owls, David Sedaris
Somehow I managed to go my whole life without ever knowing who David Sedaris was. When a friend leant me this collection of short stories, I became a bit obsessed with finding out more about this hilarious man. Now I want to read everything he’s ever written. This book made me laugh till my cheeks felt like they’d been doing squats!

2) Puckoon, Spike Milligan
Conversely, this was the most ridiculous book I’ve ever read. My father in law gave it to me which was the only reason I read it and I really think that if it wasn’t so short I would have quit. I don’t find The Goon Show or anything else that Spike ever wrote to be funny so it’s not surprising that this was not up my alley at all. It’s an Irish comedy where the characters in the book interact with the author and I found it all a bit silly.

3) Masters of Doom, David Kushner
Now this is also not something I’d normally read but I would TOTALLY recommend it. I love books about people who have changed the world as we know it in some way. This is about the two guys who basically created the computer game industry. They are most famous for writing Commander Keen, Doom and Quake.

As the author says at the end of the book, “It’s both amazing and frustrating to me that the billion dollar industry of computer gaming is a mystery to so many people. The story of John Carmack and John Romero is a classic American adventure that captured the birth of a new medium and the coming of age of two compelling and gifted young people. By telling it, I hope to give gamers the respect and understanding the deserve”.

4) Mrs Warren’s profession, George Bernard Shaw
Sometimes when I don’t know what to read next, or when I need a break between books, I read plays. I like Mr Shaw, he wrote good stuff, this play included.

5) My prisoner, my friend, Christo Brand
Can everyone please read this book? It’s such a good one. Christo was Nelson Mandela’s prison guards on Robben Island for 12 years. He became a confidant, then a friend and then once Nelson was Prime Minster, Christo became his employee. This book reiterated how much Nelson valued education. While in prison, he studied day in and day out and he encouraged the other freedom fighters to do so too. One of my favourite quotes from Nelson’s own book, Long Walk to Freedom is: “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given that separates one person from another.”

I heard about this book at about the same time I decided to go to South Africa this year so it was good pre trip reading!

6) Between shades of grey, by Ruta Sepetys
No, not 50 shades of grey! This one is a novel about a family sent to a work camp in Siberia during the second world war. The protagonist is a young Lithuania girl and the book was deliberately written from a teenage perspective. The author met many survivors from Siberia who were teenagers at the time of deportation. They claimed that they had a greater will to live than many of their adult counterparts. 

The notes at the end of this book about the way the genocide of Baltic people was never spoken about reminded me a lot of the Armenian genocide. Also, reading it straight after the book about Nelson Mandela made me think that freedom is something humans seem to have to continually relearn!

7) The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
I’ve read many reviews of this book where people have said that they found The Luminaries hard to put down. Well I myself actually found it totally put downable! And I did, in fact, put it down many times, sometimes taking weeks before I was ready to go back to it. There’s about 800 pages and of those, about 600 pages  were utter tedium. Just as I had decided that I was going to quit, my sister insisted that it was about to get good so I pushed on. It did get better for a little while but then continued to bore me.

There’s lot of cleverness, in that each chapter is exactly half the length of the previous chapter. There’s also a whole star sign thing going on where each of the main characters is aligned with a star sign and characters on opposite ends of the astrological chart affect each other. However overall, it really felt like a very long winded whodunnit. And while there were certain turns of phrase that I found amusing, on the whole, I didn’t really think the writing was amazing. Sorry Eleanor.

8) The fault in our stars, by John Green
I read this book after the film came out and only because the internet was flooded with John Green interviews and he sounded like an awesome dude. After reading just a few pages, his writing confirmed his awesomeness.

This book is both hilarious and devastating. It’s witty, the characters are beyond quirky and I loved every bit of it. I’m not sure I can bring myself to see the film, my heart is still aching from the novel. Cancer stories get under my skin.

9) The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
I remember Alain de Botton once saying that the mere mention of a self help book makes him do a ‘quick-back-out-of-the-room-and-break-into-a-sprint manoeuvre’. That’s how I initially felt about this book. I’d heard about it for a long time but I’m not into self help so I only read it following David’s recommendation. And naturally I ended up loving it.

In the book, Gretchen talks through research she’s done about the habits of supremely happy human beings. It made me think a lot about what makes me happy and also about why some people aren’t happy and may never be.

One of the things that Gretchen felt was making her unhappy was all the massive lumps on her to do list that just never seemed to get done. I too have completely overzealous and seemingly unrealistic to do lists and it bothers me when I can’t cross things off them. After I finished this book, I started to think about the pockets of time that I waste and could use to be more productive.

10) Sarah’s key, by Tatiana de Rosnay
In this novel, the chapters alternate between the second world war era and the time sixty years later. One of the key characters is a reporter trying to find out more about what happened during the 1942 round-up of Jewish people in France. I had never heard of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ Roundup so I found this story interesting and also completely tragic. 

So that’s me. What have you all been reading?

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January books

I’ve read three really great books this month.

Books in Jan

The half brother by Lars Saabye Christensen is a a huge story, both figuratively and literally, that focuses on the lives of a family in Norway. It’s really well translated and probably the best thing I’ve read in a long time.

I can’t really think of how to describe this book in a way that will do it any sort of justice. It’s a story about four generations of family. It’s a story about strong women, about weak men and about interesting relationships. It’s also a story about so much more.

If you’re looking for something meaty to sink your teeth into, this is a good one.

Cleaving, by Julie Powell is the book she wrote after Julie & Julia made her a bit famous. It’s mostly about her apprenticeship as a butcher but she also touches on the (many) affairs she had while married. 

I detested the way that both her and her husband were so disloyal to one another. But I was weirdly fascinated by her tales of cutting up animals. The art of butchery really is dying, with meat factories now replacing this old skill.

I started to think that maybe I too wanted to become a butcher. Then Ian reminded me of my inability to enter a butcher shop without gagging. Also, despite my love of cooking, I’ve never EVER touched raw meat. So there’s also that.

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy is a tale of a father and his son, set in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s somehow a terrifying scenario written in a really beautiful, warm way.

Husband recently read this book and was surprised to find himself crying at the end of it. In the 19 odd years I’ve known Ian, I’ve only ever seen him get choked up a couple of times. I knew that if a book could make him cry, it was a book worth reading.

I loved the tenderness between the father and the son. Despite living in a terrible world, they share the most beautiful of relationships. And for me, that’s really what life is all about.

 

 

 

 

 

From my eyeballs to yours

If you have a spare five minutes today, can you please watch this sweet video about giraffes? I love it so much that I just want everyone else to watch it too! G-raffs are my favourite animal and this little video really made me laugh! I’d like to believe it’s real :)

I saw a Bangarra Dance Theatre performance this week. I love Bangarra and even though Blak isn’t the best one I’ve ever seen, it’s still worth going to. They are about to travel around the country so go if you can!

Sometimes when I watch contemporary dance, I kid myself that it’s same kind of thing that I do at home. I regularly make up dances for my husband which I’d like to think look kiiiiinnnd of Bangarra -esque.

I think if I just had a choreographer and other people to do the same moves at the same time, it could be quite something.  Although of course there is the small problem that my dance routines usually end with me on the floor in fits of giggle. (And I’m not fit enough either but whatever).

Blak

At the Sydney Film Festival a week or so ago I was moved by a beautiful documentary called Buckskin. It won the prize for best doco and it’ll be on ABC later in the year so please watch out for it.

It’s about Jack Buckskin, an indigenous Australian from Adelaide who is on a mission to renew Kaurna, one of the lost Aboriginal languages. Jack taught himself to speak Kaurna using old records that were kept by German missionaries. He is now the only person in the world fluent in the language. He’s teaching his little girl and also running classes for students and future language teachers.

Amongst a lot of really sad indigenous tales in this country, this story stuck out to me as positive and inspirational. At the festival we got to meet the young (20 year old!!) director who made the film after being given a tiny grant from the ABC. It was so touching and well put together.

And my favourite quote from the movie was from Jack’s uncle, who said that in his experience, people who have a strong sense of culture tend to walk through their lives in a more grounded way than others.

Buckskin22

The second film I saw at the festival was a cute french movie called  Mood Indigo. It starred Audrey Tautou who is pretty much one of my top two girl crushes. Mood Indigo

On the film festival website, this movie is described as follows:

“Colin and Chloe meet, fall in love and enter into an idyllic marriage. Then Chloe begins to suffer from a strange illness: a water lily begins to grow in her lungs. Colin is forced to spend all his money in an attempt to cure her, as the world around them begins to fall apart. A whimsical, magical and romantic tale, Mood Indigo is innovative and captivating.”

A water lily growing from her lungs? I mean it just had WTF written all over it. I had to go! And it was SO well made. Really abstract and quite melancholic too.

The doctor who realises Chloe has a water lily growing in her lungs decides that the only cure is for her to be surrounded by flowers. The film starts off with a really bright, cartoonish feel, but then as the tulips and roses wither, the aesthetic evolves into something darker.

I think it might be one of best movies I’ve seen in a long time and I cannot wait for it to come out on DVD.

So that’s what my eyeballs have been up to. Yours?

Some Sunday night reading

Hi there friends and silent followers!

I’ve got some great links to share with you. Here’s some interesting things I’ve read lately which you might be interested in perusing:

1)  If you sometimes feel like your life doesn’t live up to your Pinterest boards, then this post is for you.

2)  If you’ve wondered why kids cover their eyes when hiding, then you’ll like this cute clarification.

3) Here’s an explanation about why people are adding butter to their coffee.

4) There’s some funny excerpts from Yoko Ono’s book here. I want to do the map challenge!

5) Most things on Brain Pickings are interesting. Maria Popova, who owns the site calls herself ‘an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large’.

6) I have discovered Cabinet Magazine and I love it! Read about why shells sound like the sea, about the rise of cold storage and what it means for our food and also the history of tattoos.

7) Ben Pobjie’s Wonderful World of Objects is a blog I discovered through Sydney Writer’s Centre and it’s become a new favourite of mine.

8) This is an awesome book review blog and I most especially like the most recent post on the Writer’s Festival.

9) I love the daily big idea, along with all the little videos on Big Think.

Read anything good yourself?

Reading, watching, eating

I’ve been reading some great stuff lately & I’ve been watching & eating some good things too.

In the last month or so I’ve read

  • James Frey’s first two books. He called them memoirs but it’s since become evident that he made up a lot of what happened. I still really liked both of them though. Before reading these books, my understanding of drug addiction and drinking problems was quite facile. I really feel like these books have the potential to keep young kids far away from alcohol!

PicMonkey Collage

  • I discovered that my local library has a whole box of plays in the HSC section and I’ve gone a bit nuts with them.
    Plays

I read Pygmalion not long after Tiggs was born, because of her (middle) namesake – Eliza. Then I read Away. I have always loved and wanted to play Gwen and I forced Ian to listen to me recite some of her monologues. I read The Glass Menagerie & Waiting for Godot because I’m seeing both plays later in the year. Dags was one I acted in when I did drama classes as a teenager. I saw the cover and felt nostalgic! I found the play Stolen in the library box and the cover caught my eye. It’s about the stolen generation and I think every school student in Australia should have to read it. And then I read the Summer of the 17th doll because I’ve always heard about this play but didn’t know the story at all.

  • Two websites that I look at almost every day are All that is interesting and Altruism in the Morning. Both have amazing content. All that is interesting mostly displays beautiful photography from around the world. Altruism in the morning has a focus on the curation of quirky, interesting videos, stories and images. Check them out!
  • I also love this post that Maxwell Tielman wrote about her Mum.  I have superwoman as a Mum too so I could relate.
  • I liked this post about keeping emotion out of food choices.
  • And this post is a good one. It’s a reminder that everyone’s pain and stress is valid. When people go through hard times, their situation may not seem so tough to you but that makes it no less legitimate.

In the last month or so I’ve watched:

  • The entire season of My Kitchen Rules.
    We’ve never watched any cooking shows before but we got so involved in this show that we didn’t miss a single episode! Even though it was good to watch, we were totally over it in the end and have vowed to never again watch a show that airs so many night’s a week. Too much TV!!!
  • A few hours of The Voice, mostly online.
    Everyone’s talking about this show but I haven’t been able to get into it really. I just like the odd performance here and there.
    lb
  • The Flight of the Conchords Season 1 & 2 and Little Britain USA
    My brother in law gave me both Conchords DVDs for Christmas a few years ago and I’ve only just got around to watching them. I found the entire first season incredibly painful. It’s sort of awkward humour in the vein of The Office, rather than actually being funny to me like the IT crowd. But I pushed on and in Season 2 there was a couple of  pretty funny songs. Have you heard of Sugar Lumps? Or Too many dicks on the dance floor? Yep, they’re as bonkers as they sound. Both videos are worth watching if you want a good laugh!I also found Little Britian USA on my book shelf and realised that somehow I’d never watched it. I’m not sure how I forgot I had it, such was my obsession with this show! I even saw it live!

In the last month of so, I’ve been eating:

  • Cabbage salads. I’m not talking coleslaw but rather salads incorporating cabbage. They seem to be popping up in cafes around Sydney. Reminds me of all the cabbage salads Leigh and I bought daily when we travelled through Germany. And red cabbage? Love.it.

What have you been reading, watching and eating lately? 

Music Monday//Adele + Afro Circus

When I broke my phone last year, my lovely friend Kylie leant me her old iPhone for a bit. This was when I suddenly became an Apple convert. The other wonderful thing was that I found a long list of music on the phone that Kylie liked. It took me a good few months but I slowly worked my way through the tunes, discovering many new artists and rediscovering old ones.

One artist was Adele, who I kinda knew but not really. Are you a fan?

Someone like you makes my heart ache. It reminds me of a friend whose partner left her for another girl.

My second favourite is Set fire to the rain. Shesh kebabs but her voice is strong.


And of course, then there’s Rolling in the deep which was her first single.


If you’re a James Bond fan, you’ll know her song Skyfall from the latest movie in the series. I myself don’t care much for Mr Bond but I absolutely love this song.


And relatedly (or not), this is a song that I put on when I want to impress my husband with a crazy dance. Ra da da da da da da da!

Shantaram – how it changed my perspective

shantaram

Shantaram is a book that sat on my book shelf for a very long time. At 946 pages, it’s certainly not a light literary snack! For a commuter, lugging such a heavy book around is not ideal. However I decided to start reading it while I was on Christmas holidays. It ended up taking me the entire month of January and by the end my hands ached from holding the heavy book!

This book has well and truly secured itself a spot on my list of favourite books of all time.

After reading a lot of reviews online, I can see that there are many people who got quite sick of the author and his tales, in the same way many people (me included) really started to dislike Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love. However with Shantaram, for me, the more I read, the more I loved Greg. I think I’ve now watched every single interview of him on youtube.

I learnt a lot from this book, which I’ll share below, however a quick summary for those who don’t know the back story:

Gregory David Roberts was an Aussie journo in the 80s, whose life fell apart after his wife had an affair and ran away to America. He raised his daughter alone for 18 months before his wife came back and managed to win full custody of their child. She took his 5 year old daughter to America leaving Greg completely alone. On the night she left, a group of friends came over to console him and one person brought along heroin for comfort. Some friend…

Greg became an overnight junkie, numbing all his woes in heroin. After he’d sold everything he owned to pay for his habit he started robbing banks. He used a toy gun, and became known in the 80s as the Australian Building Society Bandit. People actually described him as the Gentlemen bandit because despite stealing money from them, he did so with good manners and many apologies.

Eventually he was caught and sentenced to 20 years in jail. However only 2 years into the sentence he escaped in broad day light from Melbourne’s maximum security prison and he stayed on the run for 10 years. For 8 of those years he lived in Bombay.

While in Bombay, he worked in a slum, acted in Bollywood movies, got sent to prison again and was tortured (this part was actually really hard to read) and he also got involved in the Bombay Mafia which saw him work as a drug runner, counterfeiter and also go to Afghanistan.

So why did I love this book so much? There were two main reasons.

1) Gregory really captures what I imagine to be the soul of Bombay (now, Mumbai). I’ve read a lot of books about or set in India. But none have made me want to go there as much as this.

2)  I realised how judgemental I am.

This book made me think long and hard about how I look at total strangers. I’ve looked up pictures of Gregory and in some of the photos of him from before all these experiences, I see a hard man who I’d never have had anything to do with in real life. He’d be exactly the kind of person I’d cross the street to avoid. He’s the kind of person that I’d have once believed had earned his place in jail.

But. After reading Shantaram I have been confronted by my sterotypical mind set about criminals. Before I got to ‘know him’ there I was, judging and blaming.

Obviously his book is just one side of a long, complicated story. And Greg himself does not wish to be forgiven for the fear and stress he caused others.

But I guess what I took from this book is that I now want to try harder to understand why some people’s lives take such a dark turn. Why is it that people turn to crime? Often it’s because of drugs and alcohol, but what is it that makes people develop those addictions in the first place? And after reading how Greg was treated in both an Australian jail and an Indian jail, I now wonder whether it’s really the right place to treat troubled people. Is there any other place? Any other way? Sure, he broke the law and did some horrible stuff. But he’d also been through some horrible stuff. Maybe all he needed was help? Not punishment. Maybe it could have all been different.

I really think that if someone had helped him break his drug addiction and someone had helped him see his daughter, the rest of his story could have been very different.

I hope that I can now be a more empathetic person.

For me, Shantaram is reflective, intelligent writing. I loved it. I demand a sequel! Don’t be daunted by its size. Read it.

Read, ate, watched

Life lately

Read:
Fluke, by Christopher Moore. It was seriously random and highly entertaining. I’m so sad it’s finished!

It started off, a seemingly normal story. There’s a marine biologist named Nate who studies whales and why they ‘sing’. There’s Kona, whose real name is Preston Applebaum. He’s a white boy who talks and acts like a drugged out rastafarian. There’s also Clay, a marine photographer and Amy a cute research assistant.

As Nate gets closer and closer to the reason why the whales sing, he begins stumbling upon some secrets he shouldn’t know. He sees what appears to be the words ‘Bite me’ written on the fluke of a whale. Then, he finds himself being swallowed by a humpback  and things really start to get strange. I knew the kookiness was beginning when a chapter of the book suddenly started with ‘Please take your shoes off while inside the whale’……

Totally recommend this if you like quirky, slight odd books and strange characters.

Ate:
Hainanese Chicken from Temasek in Parramatta

I keep reading about this style of chicken in food mags and blogs. It’s a classic Singaporean dish and very healthy. Literally just poached chicken infused with ginger. It gets served with rice cooked in chicken stock and chilli and kecap manis sauces.

I was hoping I’d love it but unfortunately I did not. I’m not a huge fan of cold chicken (unless it’s BBQ’d!) so this to me was slightly gag worthy. I also didn’t like the feel of the chicken skin in my mouth. Apparently you can get it served without the bones and without the skin. Can’t say I’m prepared to try it again though.

Watched:
Biutiful. I loved this Spanish film, mainly because Javier Barden did such a stellar job!

Javier plays Uxbal, a man who you discover in one of the first scenes of the movie has prostrate cancer. He’s divorced and raising his two kids by himself. And he never, ever, tells anyone that he’s sick. He also seems to have the psychic ability to communicate with the dead, however this isn’t really a central part of the film.

I really loved his character. He seems like such a moral person and tries so very hard to make a good life for himself. However at the same time, he’s up to his neck in petty crime. You see people go to jail and also die tragically because of his actions. But even knowing this, you see this behaviour in the context of his circumstances and you just want him to come out on top. It’s quite emotional and pretty heavy in some parts but I loved the story and I loved how it showed the rough side of Barcelona, not just the touristy parts we all usually see.

Javier has such a beautifully expressive face and he made this movie truly biutiful for me. If I was a movie critic, I’d give it an 8.5/10.

This month in books, film, theatre and food

Life lately: 

I’ve read four great books over the last month or so.

First there was Unbearable Lightness – a story of loss and gain, by Portia de Rossi. I’ve never been exposed to so much self hatred so this was certainly an eye opening read. At times, reading about how hard Portia was on her body made me feel physically sick. But I love that she came out and also got over her eating disorder before she met Ellen. It wasn’t like Ellen came along and saved her, but rather that Portia went through a whole journey of self discovery and healing all on her own. Only after she was whole again, did she meet her love. A happy ending :)

 The Bone Man of Benares – a lunatic trip through love and the world, by Terry Tarnoff. This is one of the best travel memoir’s I’ve read and it’s certainly the most amusing! Terry travelled for 8 years back in the sixties and he had some hilarious experiences. My favourite scene in this book was when he got wasted on magic mushrooms. I was lying on the couch reading this, laughing so hard that I could hear the people on the balcony underneath our flat start to laugh too. I probably sounded like I was the person enjoying the mushrooms!! Oh this was great – I recommend it!

Before I die, by Jenny Downham. In a word – SAD! When I read The Bone Man of Benares I laughed almost the whole way through. With this book I cried almost the whole way through. It’s a novel about a young girl who has leukaemia and has only a few months left to live. She creates a list of all the things she wants to do before she dies. Her final, fun adventures are juxtaposed against the agony she feels as her body slowly starts shutting down. Reading about her final day reminded me so much of my Grandmother’s final day that I think this is going to have to be my last cancer book. I sobbed till it hurt.


The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.
This has without a doubt joined my list of favourite ever books. It’s such a sad, beautiful, inspiring story about maids in Mississippi during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Usually with books that are made into movies, I’ve read the novel long before the movie comes out. And then I never, ever, like the film. However I saw this movie a couple of months ago which meant that when I was reading the book, I was imagining the characters from the film. I think it actually made it better. I love stories about people who triumph over snooty, racist, biatches. I learnt a lot about kindness from this book. And also that you should never eat a chocolate pie if it’s baked by someone you’ve pissed off.

I’ve also watched two great films in the last few weeks.

I know Atonementhas been out for ages but I’ve only just got round to watching it. I loved the book so was of course nervous that Hollywood would bastardise  Ian McEwan’s fine work. But they did well. In fact it was really quite beautiful and I thought Keira Knightley was ah-mah-zing. As always. But then I do have a fairly large girl crush on her and all her rib bones. Anyhoo, I digress.

The story of Atonement is actually centered around Briony, the younger sister of Keira’s character. On a hot summer’s day in 1935, she misinterprets something she sees happen between her sister and the garden boy, Robbie. This leads to the total destruction of so many lives that it makes you furious with Briony. But at the same time, you can’t help but feel sorry for her, because as a child, she truly believed that what she saw was real. She spends the rest of her life trying to atone her sins. It really is amazing how one little thing that someone does can have sooooo many repercussions.


Made in Dagenham
was a DVD I picked to watch at home one evening with my parents. Choosing something my Dad will like is always a challenge but he really enjoyed this – and that’s saying something!

This film tells the story of the Ford sewing machinists strike in 1968 at the Dagenham plant in England. The female workers walked out and almost sent Ford broke when they demanded equal pay. Their strike was what led to the Equal Pay Act of 1970. The whole way through this movie, I kept thinking about how at the time, it was considered such a ludicrous idea for women to be paid the same as men. And it amazes me that this all happened only 40 years ago. I would find it ludicrous now if I wasn’t given equal pay and most of the time I don’t even think about how hard women had to fight for this right. Those poor ladies gave up a lot and this film reminded me to be grateful.

I’ve seen a couple of weird things at the theatre lately.

There was Cabinet Fever at Newtown Theatre which was amusing but random. It’s a play set in the future, after climate change has led to a massive flood in Australia that’s almost wiped out the entire population. In parliament house, a couple of politicians have survived physically but are mentally losing the plot. They while away their days by pretending to have question time, and by reminiscing about past events. They are in complete denial that they are no longer in power.

One of the actors was fantastic and made me do a whole lotta belly laughing. However the rest of the cast was a bit weak and it always feels awkward to watch actors who aren’t so great. It also kind of ended abruptly. Rosetta (my lovely work friend) and I walked back to the car afterwards wondering whether we had actually seen the end of the play or whether maybe we weren’t meant to have left. Weird.

I really like how intimate this theatre is though – we saw Closer there with the Williams a couple of years ago and that was certainly a good, confronting play for a small space!


4-tell
, at Riverside Theatre in Parramatta was, I have to say, the worst dance performance I’ve ever seen. I feel sort of mean saying that because it was done by young girls from across Western Sydney. It’s just that when you’re used to seeing Sydney Dance Co or Bangarra, anything less amazing is really just not worth it. Dancers from both of those Theatre Company’s are ridiculously fit and strong, and ridiculously graceful. But  4-tell was the opposite. The girls were trying hard to lift people with the same body weight as themselves and there was nothing graceful about it. In fact I’m not even sure if it’s physically possible to do that.

There were also some random narratives from each of the dancers, in between the dance acts. I think they were meant to be clever. Or maybe just funny. But to be frank –  they were neither.

It was a nice idea to have a night out with work friends, at a place to close to the office. But the reality was painful. And clumsy.

Now as for food, I’ve eaten a few particularly nice things lately.
I made the cupcakes above for Leigh and David’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea. They’re Magnolia Bakery’s vanilla cupcakes. I alternated pink and yellow frosting and also topped them with a sprinkle of Persian fairy floss. I think next time I’ll pipe the frosting rather than dolloping though.

The pizza was pumpkin, pesto and prosciutto with some ricotta blobbed on top. I sneakily took a photo of the recipe from a kid’s cook book called Ready, Steady, Spaghetti  before I gave the book to my nephew for his birthday.  And as a side note, I just have to say that I find kneading dough so cathartic. I think I could do it all day.

I’ve also been devouring some healthy fruit popsicles.These ones are from a book Lis gave me called Pops. You can find the recipes here.

There’s rockmelon and mint pops and also honeydew melon pops. Perfect snack on a hot day! And my nail polish is Opi’s Dutch Tulips (in case you were wondering. I would be. It’s fab!)

And that’s what I’ve been up to. You?