Monthly Archives: December 2014

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” … and books, mainly books

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Trust me, he wanted a book not that sweater.

Have you left Christmas shopping until December? Have you just realised that stores are now zoos full of rabid animals? Never fear, I can and will help you… well,  not so much me as books. Books can and will solve your problems. So here are my Christmas recommendations for those of you without the time to think.

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Where Do You Hide Two Elephants? by Emily Rodda. Ridiculously cute picture book.

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The Red Wind by Isobelle Carmody. For the lover of fantasy. Added bonus, yes it is a series. We fantasy geeks love a good series.

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Impossible Quest Series by Kate Forsyth. The first two books are already out. Get into them before they blow out Harry Potter style. Fantastic kids series.

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The Protected by Claire Zorn. Incredibly moving YA novel about grief, resilience… I actually have to stop writing about this novel now because I’m tearing up just thinking about it. It’s powerful stuff. I’ll leave it at that.

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The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss. Non Fiction exploration of stereotypes and beliefs thrust upon women/Tara Moss. That description does not do it justice at all. Captivating read. Just go out and get it for any and all women you know.

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Under Siege by Belinda Neil. A memoir about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It rings true for a lot of mental illnesses though, such as depression and anxiety,  not only PTSD, so is highly accessible.

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Holiday in Cambodia by Laura Jean McKay. For you travel bug friend. Get Destination Cambodia by Walter Mason as a companion piece. Your friend will love you forever. I’m trying not to literally laugh out loud remembering the “dangerously jolly” scene in Destination Cambodia.

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The Black Dress by Pamela Freeman. Get it for the woman who wants to read about strong women and also anyone with an interest in religious history. A truly excellent read about Mary MacKillop.

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Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Yes, you can believe the hype. Buy it for yourself for Christmas.

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The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. For your historical fiction loving friends who enjoy some romance.

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The Nightingale by Fiona McIntosh. Another beautiful romantic historical fiction novel.

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Fishing for Tigers by Emily Maguire. For the Literary snob who secretly likes it a bit sexy. In other words,  exceptionally well written but they get down to business.

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Avoiding Mr Right by Anita Heiss. For the woman who likes the idea of chick lit but needs something with a bit more depth.

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Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan. Styled as young adult but so brilliant. Honestly,  it’s for any adult, young or old, human or seal. A beautiful take on the Selkie myth.

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Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood. Love a light murder mystery and the cover is very cool. Seriously, I know you can’t judge a book by its cover but… well… we do.

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Animal People by Charlotte Wood. Slightly traumatising but oh so good. For your friend who likes a bit of real life grit.

Okay Christmas peoples,  go forth and part with your cash. Probably online, so you can avoid the people. Mwah.

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Confessions of a Mad Mooer: screw you stress protect woman!!!

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Nivea Stress Protect Mum

I like many women have watched the Stress Protect Antiperspirant ads with much envy. She’s so beautiful, happy, well dressed and organised. She looks like the type of mum who has time to brush her hair every single day. The kind of mum who goes to the toilet on her own. In short, a total mole that we’re all jealous of. Oh how I longed to be her. Now I know better. That bitch has got nothing.

This morning as I walked around Darling Harbour, with my twins in their pram and my three year old on my back in an ergo, dripping with sweat, I thought, “Screw you Nivea Stress Protect Woman, you’ve got nothing on me.” And honestly,  she’s got nothing on any real mum. Sure she’s walking about looking all fresh faced and beautiful, but she’s doing it with ONE HAPPY KID, a phone and a bag of groceries, that’s it. Let’s see her do it with one angry kid, her work on the phone telling her that her miscarriage is inconvenient to them because now she won’t be on maternity leave (not that I’m bitter and still mad two years later… mofos), plus groceries in a broken bag, the toddler’s discarded shoes with a million other things the toddler has produced from seemingly nowhere, and a husband who turns up after the witching hour is over and is all like, “What’s your problem,  kids are fun, it’s not work.” Now that’s when you need stress protection. I want to see a mum with messy hair, being yelled at by an army of hangry kids, on the verge of developing an eye twitch, and then someone walks up and says,  “My goodness, you look atrocious but boy do you smell fresh, what deodorant are you using?” Not a mum on an easy day, a day when she’s returning home with her happy kid with the groceries whilst having a chat on the phone with a girlfriend to find her husband home from work early. Because that’s a good day, not a stress protection worthy day.

So in short, don’t be jealous of the stress protect mother because you’re amazing,  we’re all amazing. She’s got nothing!

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My daughter sticking bunny ears on the baby of the family. The angsty middle child doing their own thing.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: What Would Robin Do?

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I have been told that my last post, What Would Tara Do? leaves the question, What would Robin do… you know… when she wasn’t channeling people? So here goes:

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What would Robin do?

1. She’d ensure her hair was extra orange after each emergency. Ones hair can never be too orange.

2. She’d get a hair cut if she was having issues.

3. She’d get peed on.

4. She’d go all Madwoman in the Attic.

5. She’d swear.

6. She’d make a joke about it.

7. She’d drink a crap load of tea.

8. She’d hide in her blanket fort for respite.

9. She’d keep on going. Nothing gets this bitch down for too long. Not only does what doesn’t kill me make me stronger but it also makes me more determined.

10. She’d then blog about it.

I almost feel like making this one of those chain mail award things to find out what Helen and Lisa would do. I can’t see the, “‘What would you do?’ Award” catching on. People celebrating who their hero is then pretending they’re a hero… Awkward.

What Would Tara Do?

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What Would Tara Do?
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What would Tara do?

It’s no secret that I’ve got a bit of a Lady Writer Crush on Tara Moss. Of late I’ve been using expressions like, “I’m channeling my inner Moss,” and, “I totally Mossed it,” much to my friends’ amusement. And I’ll be honest, it has caught on with them. Anytime we appear particularly serene and confident when under stress we’ll say, “I see you Mossing it.” If one of us is flipping out we’ll say, “What would Tara do? Put on her lipstick and pull herself together.” I’ve actually started wearing red lipstick now. I had to go emergency purchase some the morning of Literary Speed Dating in order to “Get on Moss of it.” I’m now wearing my red lippy all over the place. This has come as a shock to people who have known me for years and are more familiar with me channeling my inner Woolf rather than Moss.

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What would Virginia do?

But you know what, it works. I feel much more confident with my lip mask on. So I drink a cup of tea, put on my lipstick and high heels, and I’m ready to face the day. However,  I’ll let you in on a little secret, lean in closer, closer,  I have to italics it because I haven’t let anybody else in on the secret,  shhhhh, Tara Moss isn’t the only person I channel. Gasp. Yup. I’m a bit of a Lady Writer Crush (LWC) hussy (LWCS???). Although Tara Moss is my go to at the moment I can’t solve all the world’s problems through giving it “a red hot Moss.” So here are some more LWC that you can channel.

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What would Emily Maguire do? She’d put on her pajamas and pull herself apart. Because sometimes you just need to get comfy in your sauce stained PJs to truly become one with yourself. If she was scared of something she’d go out and confront it. She’d research it, interview it, visit it, she’d get that business all taken care of because knowledge and understanding is power. Then she’d go home and get comfy. Because pyjamas are awesome.

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What would Kate Forsyth do? Plaster on a smile, sip some champagne and hug her many, many books, published in many, many countries. When you’re as internationally recognised as Kate Forsyth not much phases you, so just drink champers and be fab. We all need to just shake it off with a champagne and a smile every now and then. If I was to channel pre published Kate Forsyth (translation: broke) To “Forsyth it” would mean to be focused, devoted and don’t allow for distractions or detractions. Choose your priorities and go with that. If that means skipping a few meals to do a writing course then so be it. So really,  however you “Forsyth it,” pre published or internationally celebrated,  you’ll be doing something pretty amazing. Self belief is key.

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What would Nakkiah Lui do? No idea, she’s a bit like the Spanish Inquisition,  nobody expects them. The only thing I know is that she’ll challenge, she’ll be unique, she’ll probably swear and she’ll definitely make you laugh. So if you want to “Lui it” you’ll need to be able to think on your feet and always do the unexpected and BE the unexpected.

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What would Margo Lanagan do? Something so profoundly brilliant that it beggars belief and then be self deprecating about it. Modesty thy name is Margo Lanagan… Ok, I haven’t channeled my inner Lanagan yet, because I haven’t written anything as brilliant as her yet, but I look forward to the day I do… because then I’ll be smug as hell instead of self deprecating.

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What would Hannah Kent do? Start a bidding war over her first novel… haven’t channeled her yet either… sad face.

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What would Anita Heiss do? Be ground breaking,  brilliant,  devoted and still be family oriented… I hope my daughter channels her inner Heiss, Mummy will always be here, please don’t forget me.

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What would Pamela Freeman do? Say something sassy as hell and make everyone laugh, then follow it up with a ridiculously insightful comment. Pamela is cheeky, she’s funny, she’s willing to tease her writer friends on panels just to make them laugh and she follows it up with intellectual insights. In short, she’s as close as you can get to a Terry Pratchett witch in real life. So just go say what you want, write what you want, be who you want, that’s what Pamela would do, that’s why she crosses genres and age groups in her writing.

So who are you going to channel today?

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Stuff My Kids Need For Christmas Because I Want It!

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You know what, kids aren’t going to remember what you got them for Christmas when they’re little so you may as well get them stuff you want… or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
I’m a little bit obsessed with those GOOD / BAD Parenting signs so when I saw this I laughed… I laughed, and then I laughed some more. Love it!

If loving Gumby is wrong then I don’t want to be right. Quietly confident my kids dig Gumby despite not knowing anything about it.

Because sauce isn’t messy enough with a three year old I have to add a challenge. An awesome challenge. Behold the sauce ray gun.

Pretty sure this slightly creepy toy won’t give any of my children nightmares. I’ll put it on the list for one of my sons. I love it and I wants it. My precious.

My daughter is almost 3 now. High time she started looking after her own finances right?

My boys might not be one yet but they eat a lot. I have to say my daughter’s eating has improved no end since they started crawling because she knows if she leaves food hanging about then they’ll get it. What could be better for a couple of hungry lads than a lunchbox? I love this panda! So hilarious.

My favourite bath toys as a kid were a set of brilliant stacking ducks. Therefore my children…

I’m quietly confident that my love of sci fi has rubbed off on my kids and they need a jumbo rocket… and if they don’t like it I’m sure my husband will find the top of it interesting to look at.

And of course they’ll need appropriate bedding to match their rocket.

Anything can happen when they’re asleep,  I do have three kids after all so I better get them these for bed time too.

Shut the front gate! I can’t believe there are Arabian building blocks! Finally I can build the castles I want to build… I mean finally my kids can build the structures they want… They’re very architecturally savy amongst the three and under set.

You would not believe how much my kids love Final Fantasy!

Since my boys heard that there was a scene where Luke wears Yoda like a backpack and Yoda whisperers words of wisdom into Luke’s ears, my eleven month olds have not shut up about how much they want to carry around a yoda on their back.

And weirdly my kids want a pretty dress in my size. I guess they’ll grow into it.

…. I do have three kids…
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