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Newsletter #2: Easter Break! (Issue 2, April 2023)

🐣 April 2023 – Still unpacking from moving house! Coming to terms with being a Cat Mum, more Book Reviews, a chocolate cake …and I am still not sold on Star Trek Picard!

Originally published on Substack on 10th April 2023

Hi! 👋

Here we go, a second newsletter issue! I’ve been so busy and exhausted lately as I continue to move house, but I wanted to get something out there to keep me on track!

New on the Blog

Book Review: Scandal In Spring (The Wallflowers #4) by Lisa Kleypas

I, finally, got around to writing up my review for the final book in the Wallflowers series! I have really enjoyed all these books. I often think that Romance books are not my “thing” but, honestly, now and again I can just devour them. There is something comforting in the formula I think.

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I might be a bit fatigued by the formula by book four but I definitely appreciated the freedom of consent this book, and that we finally have a Wallflower who takes the lead in pursuing her man and acting on her own desires! To me this makes the sexy scenes a lot hotter.

I would love recommendations for any other great books in the genre for the next time I feel in l the mood!

A New Books page

I’ve added a new page to the website to pull together all my books related content with some useful links to navigate around. I love making things like this (I think that is the Librarian in me – I just love to make information easy to find!). It is quite similar to the “Maps of Content” pages I build in my Obsidian database (including the gorgeous picture of Picard reading on his Risa vacation). At some point, I will get around to blogging about my Obsidian!

I have to say it took me way too long to work out how to use the WordPress Block editor to add Query Loop blocks that looked halfway decent, but now I figured it out I’ll probably do something similar for my other broader categories.

Books, Books, Books

I finally caught up on some of the mini-reviews for my Bookstagram feed.

The Mignight Library by Matt Haig Mini review 4 of 5 stars Genre: Fantasy, Contemporary Positives: + Straightforward, accessible writing style. + Characters felt realistic. + A realistic look at depression that aims to be inspiring. Negatives: - very heavy-handed with its message! - Predictable & unoriginal. - The amazing, multi-talented Nora got grating. - You need to be in the right frame of mind, maybe avoid if currently in a depression.
This Is How You Lose The Time War by By Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone Mini review 2 of 5 stars Genre: Sci-Fi, Contemporary Literature Positives: + Cool premise. + Cool characters. + Only 200 pages... Negatives: - Writing style is too poetic for me. - Between language, structure and lack of world building I found the story hard to follow. - I wasnt engaged with the characters or the romance.

I still need to do Addie LaRue, and I also finished The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires on audiobook but am yet to review it properly!

I haven’t get got into a routine fully after moving house so I’ve not been reading consistently for the last couple of weeks. The last book I read was My (extra)Ordinary Life by Rebecca Ryan (one of my 99p BookBub impulse purchases).

Expanding the TBR pile

I had been really doing well with pulling back on the 99p Kindle books but the last week I picked up two more that came on deals from my Amazon Reading List.

  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Reading Now

I am still flip-flopping back to Abaddon’s Gate between other books but then get lured back to something shiny and new! I just My (extra)Ordinary Life last night (really enjoyed it!) and haven’t yet settled on my next pick.

Stray Thoughts

Ch-ch-changes

I have now officially lived with my partner for two weeks! We did a two-week trial period before committing to a permanent move but this definitely feels different since I have all my STUFF properly here this time. And my stuff is all over the place. Merging two houses into just one is challenging, with some negotiations over whose we keep for all the duplicated items.. and then working on how to recycle, resell or dispose of everything.

This Easter weekend we moved the last of the furniture out of my house so it really does look empty now. It was a little sad to see some things go. I just need to go over and give it a deep clean and patch up all the drill holes from my shelves, I was thinking I could do that today but I’m just so exhausted I really needed a rest from “jobs” and to do something that feels more restorative… before its back to work again tomorrow.

Just two more weeks not before my sale should Complete and we’ll finally have this long process over and done with!

Toxic Plants

Now I live with two indoor cats – one of which absolutely loves to chew on any kind of plant – I had to check all my old houseplants and rehome the ones that might be toxic to pets.

Some of them were really surprising! I was amazed to learn that Aloe Vera is. We eat that as humans and put it on wounds, but apparently, it has something that doesn’t agree with dogs and cats.

Of all the plants I’ve had to say goodbye to I am most upset about my super cool African Spear that’s been trained into knots. I still need to find a friend to take it who will appreciate it.

I’m finding it surprisingly emotional to say goodbye to them. I’ve taken care of them for years and they’ve really made me happy in that time. I am going to have to put some time into researching cat-safe plants that will also survive getting their leaves chewed from time to time (I already have a calethea and it is not looking happy after getting chewed!).

Let me know if you have any suggestions!

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Caturdays

As upsetting as I am finding it to lose my treasured plants I have been enjoying living with the cats full-time and getting into routines with them. It also means I can really participate in Caturday now via Mastodon!

A black and white cat is just visible through a transparent blue plastic storage box
via Mastodon

Chocolate Cake!

I made this delicious Bruce Bogtrotters chocolate cake. Very pleased about it. I shared some photos on Mastodon. If you’re interested, this person typed up the recipe on their blog. It really is as delicious cake!

I made the #BruceBogtrotter #ChocolateCake from #RoaldDahl's #Matilda this weekend! This is a recipe in #RevoltingRecipes, an absolute classic childhood book for me! We used to make this quite a bit as kids but now in my 30s I can't eat half as much 😂 the last time I made it was about 8 years ago with my all friends. A lot of great memories associated with it! Screenshot of my Mastodon post which has an image of a slice of cake and an image of a full cake.
via Mastodon

TV

I have now run out of Abbott Elementary to watch which is sad – I love it, been a while since something has made me laugh like that.

Looking for a replacement for that I ended up trying Dollface on DisneyPlus. It grew on me after a few episodes. I’ve just finished Season 1 and am intrigued to see where Season 2 goes. I wasn’t sure at first quite liked the surreal scenes, and the cast is strong (with a few from a true fave of mine, Crazy Ex Girlfriend). It is representing a very specific “privileged white girl” version of female friendship which a lot of the time I am not sure if it is being serious about or satirising half the time… but nevertheless, it’s enjoyable to watch.

There is a new season of Yellowjackets out now but I’m not yet mentally prepared to watch it! I know season 2 is really going to freak me out as I find any kind of pack mentality behaviour very disturbing. I think we have agreed we’ll start that once we have finished Star Trek: Picard.

Star Trek

Speaking of… I’m still enduring Star Trek: Picard.. the first raft of episodes were pretty good but I have found the last two (Season 3 Episodes 7 & 8) both boring and stupid. They have both had a criminal lack of Captain Liam Shaw (the real MVP) and Riker… and I also am not a fan of this plot device to bring Data back (WHO would think it would be a good idea to put Data and Lore into the same brain?! .. and given that, who thinks it a good idea to have it plugged into the ship’s computer during a critical mission to trap a villain on the ship…).

Perhaps the last two episodes will turn it around but I increasingly think the mystery of Jack Crusher is going to be dumb.

We’ve watched some Red Letter Media video reviews and I’m mostly on the same page as these guys. I like my Star Trek pure.

We are very nearly finished with our The Next Generation Rewatch. Season 7 has been a mess so I’m just trying to get through it. Last week I finally saw the infamous “Crusher bones a space ghost, that boned her Grandma, on Planet Scotland” episode (Season 7 Episode 14 – Sub Rosa).. and holy moly what a hot trash fire that episode is! I’m genuinely mind-blown over the fact that that script was greenlit! I feel so sorry for Gates McFadden… she tried her best with what she was given!

Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves

We don’t get out to the cinema very often but the trailer looked so fun we had to go! I loved it – the whole cast is great but I am so in love with this new era of Hugh Grant! It’s a really entertaining film and had me laughing out loud, just so many great moments.

Really recommend going to see it in theatres if you get a chance!

Unprocessed notes

I have a backlog of notes I’ve collated recently from various articles I’ve read and ideas to explore. Once things settle down after the move I want to get into writing some blog posts!

Dinosaurs had lips (labial folds). I do enjoy madly specific scientific debates, especially about what dinosaurs might have looked at!

There has been much debate on this issue of tyrannosaur lips over the last few years, and I think this study makes a good case.

– Studies show that maybe your cat does give a shit about you, as reported in The New Scientist. I was able to read this through my local library, and I plan to write up some notes from it! Now I am a Cat Mum I need to know about these things.

– I started listening to the Bot Love podcast. I feel super weird about people having relationships with AI and I’d like to explore that a bit more.

– Some tips from The Guardian on boosting your memory. I have a shocking memory so I might try to implement some of these!


If you read all this – thanks! 💕 Please do leave a comment if you want to chat about books, Star Trek, cats, plants, moving home or anything else!

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