Originally published on Substack on 31st July 2023
It has been another two months since my last Newsletter, which is an even longer break than in between 2 & 3. Oops. This is exactly what they tell you not to do if you want subscribers but 1) this is for fun (and free) so I don’t need the pressure of a set schedule, and 2) I don’t want to think about having subscribers as it sort of freaks me out to have an audience (though I do dearly appreciate all 3 of you, thank you so much!).
I have actually been super busy in life (16 days in Canada in June!) and on thewallflowerdigest.co.uk! My slow processor finally put out another late revelation. Back in March, I came to the realisation that I needed to ignore all the unhelpful advice on the internet and just do my own thing, after that, it still took me until July to really understand how to do it!
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I was feeling so blocked by the backlog of ideas I had for the blog that I couldn’t figure out how to catch up with them. I wanted to share about my Canada trip but it seems like too much, too many ideas, to be able to express. When I sat down at my PC to try to get something out I realised I just have to make things easier for myself. Not everything has to be a 2,000-word article I researched and worked on for hours. I just have to start writing and see what happens! It’s my website, I can do whatever I want with it. It can just be a collection of all kinds of things from my life that I feel like sharing. Just do the thing!
After I posted that I felt so much freer!
At the same time, I was also finally back to trying to finish my scrapbook for my holiday last September to Orlando, Florida (best holiday ever) so I can start the one I want to make for Canada, and it finally dawned on me that I should just treat my blog a bit like a digital scrapbook.
It‘s really hard to make a scrapbook for something that happened 9 months ago when you never wrote anything down! If I don’t get the ideas out while I’m experiencing they just float away.
This made me think a little bit about why it is I want to post all this on the internet – and it really comes down to my desire to want to make more connections with people.
I’ve also started to follow more blogs through WordPress (once I worked out how to connect my .org to the .com Reader/Jetpack!) and I’m excited to find through there so many personal bloggers, especially book bloggers (I’m really trying to find some new book friends, I really miss being in a book club)! I’d love to find similar on Substack but I still struggle a bit with the discovery tools on here. I’d appreciate any tips!
This is all to tell you that my blog has had a bit of an explosion in posts in July! If you poke in my archives you’ll see I’ve posted 27 times this month!
All The Blog Updates
- 👩🎨 You might notice things look a bit different! I have rethemed and I’m a lot happier with it now, it feels more me!
- 🔖 I fixed my Books page (for some reason query loop blocks break the page). This is the easier way to explore my Book reviews now.
- 📚 All my Mini Book Reviews which I was only putting on Instagram and now just on my Blog! I also post them to Instagram still but I’m slower at it, I really need to figure out how to auto-post them!
- 📑 A new Life page to collect everything else, including more general Personal Blog posts which people may or may not care about!
- 🍁 I am sharing about Canada but just a bit at a time with my highlights for stops! So far I’ve done Montreal and Quebec (I really loved Quebec!).
- ⭕ I finally shared how I track my Menstrual Cycle using Google Forms!
- 🗒️ And, a little bit about why I use Obsidian.md for my notes. I will dig more into this over the next weeks hopefully!
We’ve over halfway through 2023 and I’ve already read past my Goodreads goal of 30 books! Definitely helped along now I’ve worked out how to enjoy audiobooks through the library (I have to have them on at least 1.25x speed!).
I posted a round-up Ranking all 25 Fiction Books I’ve read up to until July, this will link out to my Mini Reviews.
My last fiction mini-review was for an aborted attempt to read The Song of Achilles. A book that receives so much hype and I really couldn’t find the spark, has everyone read something else? To my taste I found it incredibly dull, I gave up about 40% in and enjoyed Stephen Fry reading Troy on audiobook instead!
These are some of my latest mini book reviews!
Currently, I am rereading The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and really loving it! I’m on the final book now (Winter) which is an 800-page beast but it’s just as good as I remember it being the first time around (8 years ago). Reading them is taking me back a bit to my School Librarian days, which is how I came to discover them in the first place. They’re fairy-tale retellings with a really fun sci-fiction spin!
I also finally got around to sharing my thoughts on Atomic Habits and Building A Second Brain! I read both of those at the start of the year, so I’ve really been able to let them percolate and get a longer-term perspective on how helpful they actually were. Both of them really just repackage the obvious, and both of them read like stretched-out blog posts! I had quite a response to both when I posted on Mastodon, definitely seems I was not the only one to think this.
We actually went to the cinema twice recently and for non-MCU movies! You have to understand how rare that is. I’m not a movie critic by any stretch, and I’d need to see both again to really solidify my opinions, but I shared my initial thoughts!
- We saw Asteroid City which I really liked, and it gave me something to chew over for a couple of days, but my partner was less impressed!
- We both LOVED Barbie though! So funny, so weird and so REAL. I thought it was fantastic, and I’m just really excited to have seen something that felt different.
I also have rewatched the entire The Lord of The Rings Trilogy in Ultra HD Extended Forever Cuts. This was not my choice, as I am not a LOTR fan and did not have good memories of seeing them the first time around in the cinema (my memory of Return of the King, at 15 years old, was that it was boring and never-ending!).. but my partner does love them, and I agreed to give them another shot for him!
Unfortunately, I had much the same experience! But at least I was at home and could go and make cups of tea and work on my embroidery project at the same time.
To be fair I did genuinely enjoy The Fellowship of the Ring, it is the other two that lose me. I shared some more thoughts in a post here!
This is getting to be a long Newsletter so I’ll not share on TV in this one – I also do have some thoughts I want to work on a bit more and post on the series finale of Succession, and Righteous Gemstones season 3!
I’m also still trying to chew through my thoughts on Strange New Worlds. It’s the only New Trek show I like at all (other than my beloved Lower Decks), but at times it does frustrate me. I think it’s getting better though (maybe), and I cannot wait for us to watch the Lower Decks crossover episode.
We are also currently obsessed with Traitors Australia! It got so much better than I expected it to!
🤔 Coming Up…
A few more things I have still in my processor…
- 📰 I’m hoping now I’ve been able to break up my blog output that’s going to make these Newsletters a lot easier to construct too!
- 🧹 I want to share more about how I use Obsidian.md and my clean-up process to get back on track with that.
- 📚 Still planning to share on setting up our home library in Library Thing!
- 💭 I’m having some thoughts & feelings about Bookstagram. At times it feels a little performative, and I keep seeing the same books over and over, books that are not to my taste. I’m not sure if it’s a fit for me but also maybe I just don’t get it and I’ve not been able to find my community there yet.
- 🤖 I really want to get back to my notes on Bot Love and think a little more about loneliness, it’s a theme I’m so drawn to but I’ve not yet cracked how I want to start exploring that.
If you made it all the way down here 💗 thank you so much! It was a bit of a messy update, but mainly because I’ve been so productive. I’m actually really excited about where I’m taking my blog now, I hope you’ll stick around with me.