Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Year in Books 2016

Wow, what a year of reading I've had. Not only some corkers published this year, but some oldies and some re-reads and of course some challenges. Within my year of books was a small reading challenge. There were twelve categories to complete and I'm pleased to have completed all twelve; the final challenge completed this morning at about 9.45am. Nothing like cutting it close. I will highlight the books read for the reading challenge in red, and state their criteria.

So for now, here's my year in books. I hope it provides some ideas and inspirations. For each month I will select my favourite book - highlighted in blue - and explain why. And fingers crossed I've surpassed last year's total of 105 books. In case you didn't know, Rants loves to read!

Books I read in January

  1. The Traitor: Seth Dickinson
  2. Ketchup Clouds: Annabel Pitcher (Kindle)
  3. The School for Good and Evil (Book #1): Soman Chainani (Kindle)
  4. All the Light we Cannot See: Anthony Doer (Kindle)
  5. Alias Grace: Margaret Atwood
  6. Everything, Everything: Nicola Yoon (Reading Challenge - A book you can finish in a day.)
  7. Deeply Odd (Odd Thomas #6): Dean Koontz
  8. On Writing: Stephen King
January was a good mix of library books and kindle books. There was also a mixture of genres, adult books and YA. And choosing a favourite from this great haul was tricky, but I think Anthony Doer's tale of two teenagers and their separate, yet eventually interconnecting plight through World War 2, just pips Ketchup Clouds for the top spot. There are so many layers to the story. You see the war from both sides: French and German, yet at the heart of it is the hunt for a cursed diamond. It is simply and beautifully put out there and will stay with you. 
But, if you haven't read any Annabel Pitcher yet, please, go, do it! She's amazing. I had the joy of seeing her at YALC this year too.

Books I read in February 
  1. Allegiant (Divergent #3): Veronica Roth
  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (HP #4): J.K. Rowling (A re-read for HP Book Night)
  3. The Sleeping Prince (The Sin Eater's Daughter #2): Melinda Salisbury (Reading Challenge - A book published this year.)
  4. Monster: C.J Kruse (Kindle)
  5. MaddAddam (MaddAddam #3): Margaret Atwood
  6. Fangirl: Rainbow Rowell (kindle)
  7. A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil #2): Soman Chainani (Kindle)
  8. Prince of Thorns: Mark Lawrence
February was a bit of a series reading month. I love a good series. I completed another section of the reading challenge and racked up another few kindle reads. Top honour this month goes to the goddess of dystopia: Margaret Atwood, with the final installment of the MaddAddam trilogy. This woman is so terrifyingly accurate that you feel this is not so much a dystopian future, but a dystopian tomorrow. I can't recommend Margaret Atwood enough. She is amazing!

Books I read in March
  1. Aquarium: David Vann
  2. Death Comes to Pemberley: P.D. James
  3. Saint Odd (Odd Thomas #7): Dean Koontz
  4. Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1): Cassandra Clare (kindle)
  5. The Ghosts of Sleath: James Herbert (Reading Challenge - A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child or BFF.)
  6. Kindred Spirits: Rainbow Rowell
  7. Stormbreaker: Anthony Horowitz
  8. Movers: Meaghan McIssac
  9. The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3): Marie Rutkoski (Kindle)
  10. See How They Run (Embassy Row #2): Ally Carter
March was a great month. I finally finished Odd Thomas' literary journey. Thank you Dean Koontz. The final installment of Marie Rutkoski's incredible Winner's trilogy came out. And the new Cassie Clare series hit the shelves. But, I also tried a few authors I hadn't read before and was pleasantly surprised. Choosing a winner from this month is so hard, so I'll procrastinate on that a little longer and talk about The Ghosts of Sleath. Finally a book that actually scared me, and it was my partner who chose it for me, after finding it in a second hand book store. Cheers A. Alright, I'll choose a winner. Of the four I had it narrowed down to, I have chosen the first book I read in the month: Aquarium. This dark tale is addictive. It's so truthful and heartbreaking. The setting, the family saga, the protagonist and her journey into her sexuality, it's beautifully done. 

Books I read in April
  1. White Teeth: Zadie Smith (Reading Challenge - A book you've been meaning to read.)
  2. S: JJ Abrams & Doug Dorst (Reading Challenge - A book you own but have never read.)
  3. The Book Thief: Markus Zusak
  4. We are Completely Beside Ourselves: Karen Joy Fowler
  5. The Courilof Affair: Irene Nemirovsky
  6. The Fire Sermon (The Fire Sermon #1): Francesca Haig (Kindle)
  7. The Lottery and Other Stories: Shirley Jackson (Reading Challenge - A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller.)
  8. The Weight of Water: Sarah Crossan
  9. I'd Tell You but I'd have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1): Ally Carter
  10. Tape: Steve Camden
  11. Salvage: Keren David
Well, I ticked off a few of my reading challenges this month. Not too shabby. I also started another two different series, and discovered the YA section at Holborn library, opening up so many possibilities. This month's favourite book is by the wonderful Sarah Crossan and is the portrayal of a Polish immigrant and her attempts to fit in to her new life in Britain. Written entirely in free verse, it is concise, every word poignantly picked, nothing wasted or embellished, just the honest truth and it is beautiful!

Books I read in May
  1. Brooklyn: Colm Toibin
  2. Am I Normal Yet? (The Spinster Club #1): Holly Borne (Kindle)
  3. One: Sarah Crossan
  4. When I was Joe: Keren David
  5. The Bees: Laline Paul (Kindle)
  6. The Last Wild (The Last Wild #1): Piers Torday (Kindle)
  7. Almost True: Keren David (Sequel to When I was Joe)
  8. The Jerusalem Puzzle: Laurence O'Bryan
  9. Lolita: Vladimir Nabokov (Reading Challenge - A book that was banned at some point.)
  10. Of Mice and Men: John Steinbeck (Reading Challenge - A book published before you were born.)
  11. Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1): Alwyn Hamilton (Kindle)
  12. The Butterfly Garden: Dot Hutchinson (Kindle)
  13. The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank (Kindle) (Reading Challenge - A book that you should have read in school.)
May was definitely my most prolific month, with 13 books read. Clearly I couldn't get enough literary sustenance. And I was flying through my reading challenge with only three challenges to go. The best of the month went to Anne Frank and her diary written during World War 2. The photographs and end notes were so poignant and it is a book I had been meaning to read for years. Thank you Anne for sharing your story with us. 

Books I read in June
  1. Bluebeard's Egg: Margaret Atwood
  2. Half a War (Shattered Sea Trilogy #3): Joe Abercrombie
  3. In Twenty Years: Allison Winn Scotch (Kindle)
  4. The Deptford Trilogy: Robertson Davies
  5. Finding Audrey: Sophie Kinsella
  6. Adorkable: Sarra Manning
  7. The Uglies (The Uglies #1): Scott Westerfeld (Kindle)
June was a lighter month on the amount of books, though the Deptford Trilogy was humongous and it was actually three books in one. I couldn't decide on the top honours this month, so it is a shared honour between two YA books with fantastic heroines, great plots and really addictive reading. Thank you Sophie Kinsella and Sarra Manning. And I've seen you both speak at YALC which is very nice. 

Books I read in July
  1. The Pretties (The Uglies #2): Scott Westerfeld (Kindle)
  2. Amok: Sebastian Fitzek (Audible)
  3. The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1): Genevieve Cogman (Kindle)
  4. Death or Icecream?: Gareth P. Jones
  5. The Apple Tart of Hope: Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
  6. The Girl of Ink and Stars: Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  7. A Kestral for a Knave: Barry Hines
  8. How Hard Can Love Be? (Spinster Club #2): Holly Borne (Kindle)
  9. Demon Road: Derek Landy
This month was quite YA heavy, which is not surprising with the Young Adult Literature Conference (YALC) taking place every July. Again I raided Holborn YA section and tried out a few new authors to boot. And my winner of the month for best book is definitely the second book in Holly Borne's Spinster Club series. You laugh, a lot. You become addicted to the fast paced story and the great characters. This is a feminist YA series about young girls realising they do have power and they are worth something and their ideas matter. It is about equality for all and it couldn't be done without cheesy snacks. 

Books I read in August
  1. Way Down Dark (Australia #1): James Smythe (Kindle)
  2. Cuckoo Song: Frances Hardinge (Kindle)
  3. Falling into Place: Amy Zhang
  4. Cell: Stephen King
  5. The Demolished Man: Alfred Bester
  6. Suite Fracaise: Irene Nemorovsky
  7. Relentless: Dean Koontz
  8. Under the Ivy - The Life and Music of Kate Bush: Graeme Thompson (Non-Fiction)
  9. Kook: Chris Vick
New books galore here in my birthday month. I must mention Suite Francaise. It is a beautiful book, especially the first section which details the every day comings and goings of a town at war. So simple and elegantly expressed. It was a high contender for book of the month, but was just pipped by Frances Hardinge's Cuckoo Song, which I loved. This dark tale of a changeling, an imposter in the family, was greatly executed. 

Books I read in September
  1. Metamorphosis: Franz Kafka (Kindle)
  2. The Passage (The Passage #1): Justin Cronin (Re-read) (Reading Challenge - A book you've already read at least once.)
  3. The Twelve (The Passage #2): Justin Cronin
  4. Tiger Eyes: Judy Blume
  5. Monsters: Emerald Fennell
  6. The Masked Truth: Kelley Armstrong
  7. Frontlines (Frontlines #1): Michael Grant
  8. The City of Mirrors (The Passage #3): Justin Cronin
September was epic in terms of me finally completing the Justin Cronin trilogy. Wow. It meant I also got to re-read the first book, which not only put me right back in his world, but ticked off another reading challenge. The sheer scale of the work and the generations it encompasses are almost inconceivable. And yet, he did it. It is a masterful vampire trilogy, with none of the tropes you'd expect and everything you would not expect. I cannot shout it's praises enough. Sneaking the best book this month though, is my first ever Judy Blume read. Yes, I know, I should have already read them all, but I haven't, and I found Tiger Eyes in the library and I loved it!

Books I read in October
  1. My Uncle Oswald: Roald Dahl
  2. Mockstars: Chris Russell (Kindle)
  3. We Have Always Lived in the Castle: Shirley Jackson
  4. Ulysses: James Joyce (Reading Challenge - A book that intimidates you)
  5. Railhead: Philip Reeve
  6. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: J.K. Rowling
My month of least literary yield, though I think you'll forgive me as Ulysses was one of them. And man did that take some reading. I will confess to not having a clue what was going on half the time, but it was a challenge and it did intimidate, and now it just baffles me a little. The book of the month had to be: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. It is short and sweet and dark and consuming, and I will be reading it again soon. 

Books I read in November
  1. Jonathan Unleashed: Meg Rosof (Kindle)
  2. Skellig: David Almond
  3. The Art of Letting Go: Chloe Banks (Kindle)
  4. The Lie Tree: Frances Hardinge
  5. A Song for Ella Grey: David Almond
  6. Boys Don't Cry: Malorie Blackman
  7. Black Ice: Becca Fitzpatrick
  8. How Not to Disappear: Clare Furniss
  9. The Ghosts of Heaven: Marcus Sedgewick
  10. The Glass Demon: Helen Grant
Eight of these ten books were from either Holborn or Kentish Town libraries, showing how great their YA sections are. I love reading David Almond. I always feel right in the story from the first word. Both books of his I read this month were five star. I also very much enjoyed The Ghosts of Heaven. A really interesting premise and the three stories could be read in any order. But this month the top honours go to Chloe Banks. Her novel: The Art of Letting Go was refreshing. Older, mostly elderly characters, but so full of life, and full of secrets. The complex relationships and webs of deceit are carefully woven. Highly recommended. 

Books I read in December
  1. Remix: Non Pratt
  2. Dangerous Lies: Becca Fitzpatrick
  3. Artichoke Heart: Sita Brahmachari
  4. The Psychopath Test: Jon Ronson (Non-fiction)
  5. What's a Girl Gotta Do? (Spinster Club #3) Holly Borne
  6. L'Ultimo Caravaggio: Federica Campanini (An Italian book read over several weeks of my Italian course.)
  7. The Heart Goes Last: Margaret Atwood
  8. Rebecca: Daphne Du Maurier
  9. Paradise Lost: John Milton
  10. The Trouble with Women: Jacky Fleming (Non-fiction/humour)
No kindle books this month, but a nice mixture of non-fiction, YA, a book in a different language, and a couple of classics. Paradise Lost completed my reading challenge for the year, with a book I have previously abandoned. I have only abandoned two other books in my adult life and they were Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell) and Labyrinth (Kate Mosse), and I couldn't find them, so Mr Milton guided me through the final step of the reading challenge. Challenging it was, but complete it is. And because it's the last day of the year, I'm going to indulge my inability to  make decisions and have a couple of winners this month. Becca Fitzpatrick's tale of a teenager in witness protection was so well paced and the characters really jumped out. The way she creates sexual tension between characters as well, is phenomenal. I really enjoyed this book. The Psychopath Test is non-fiction that reads like fiction and is hilarious and terrifying and brilliant. And The Trouble with Women is a humorous, illustrated gem of a book, poking fun at the blatant sexism through history. You will roll on the floor with laughter. 

And so, it is finally over. I sometimes wish I didn't read quite as much, then this blog wouldn't take as many hours to write. But alas, I am a book worm and I am super proud of that fact. 

Drum roll please..........My final tally of books read this year is: 109. Woo hoo! I can't believe I beat last year's 105. So I guess, next year the target is 110.

Thank you for reading. If you managed to get through all of it, then you deserve a mighty big glass of bubbly tonight. Whatever you're doing, I hope you are with friends or family, or both. You don't need much for new year, just a person or people you love, some food and some festive cheer. That's almost it for 2016 guys. (Yes!) See you on the flip side. 

Rants out.

Recycling Rant

I'm livid. I don't understand how difficult it is to put your recycling in the black recycling bin. It even has pictures on the front to show you what you can put in it. And it's not that long ago that it was always full and we often had to keep bags of recycling on the balcony until it was emptied. But now, every time I take the recycling it's practically empty. And bear in mind there are 24 flats in our building and one large black bin for recycling. Yet about 6 large green bins for waste. Wait a minute. That doesn't add up. There are so many things you can recycle now, yet it is assumed that there will be five or six times more waste than recycling. I don't think so. To our one waste bin bag, we usually have at least two of recycling, if not more. So is it only us recycling?

Today I took down three bags of recycling and a bin bag of waste and I walk in to the bin store - always expecting the worst - but was pleased to see that people had actually managed to put stuff in the bins and not just dump them on the floor. But in one of the green bins was two massive cardboard boxes and a bag full of empty glass and plastic bottles. Yet, the black recycling bin I just emptied in to was empty. I was so angry. It's right there. Just put them in the black bin. So I did. I took the bag of bottles and I put them in recycling. Then I looked at the cardboard boxes and thought, no, I've got to go and get this shopping done before everywhere gets busy.

But I couldn't stop thinking about those boxes all the way there and all the way back. Why are people doing this? Are they uneducated? Are they ignorant? Are they just plain rude? Or lazy? Or do they just not get it? I mean, what's not to get? Dumping stuff in landfill when it has no need to be dumped, equals bad. Recycling where possible, equals good. It's that simple. Most products and packaging even say on now if they can be recycled. And even if you're not sure, if in doubt put it in the recycling bin, because people are employed to sort through it. I'm pretty sure people don't sort through the green bins, even if they know there are recyclables in there. They just dump.

So after purchasing everything I needed for a spicy lamb pie, I considered my options: ignore the massive boxes and get on with the day, they're not my problem or my mess; or go in there and flatten away. It's a small victory, but one I'm willing to get my hands dirty for.

And so this is why I'm all sweaty and gross after ten minutes of dumpster diving and recycling other peoples' crap. The boxes really were huge and I struggled to get them out as heavier bags were holding down the bottom edges. But persevere I did - just like I persevere when cleaning out every peanut butter jar and yoghurt pot. And I stamped those boxes down and in they went. And still the black bin is virtually empty. Maybe a quarter full. I peeked in a couple of other bins and saw several amazon boxes, but I couldn't reach them over the side and I decided diving in again was not on the cards today.

But really, in this day and age, I don't get it. Why are you not recycling? It really doesn't take very long to clean something out, or flatten a box. And how can the idea of these things being dumped in the ground not make you feel sick and wrong and gross? A few years ago I even found a place to recycle VHS, because I had so many and I couldn't bear to think of them just being dumped in a hole in the ground. So I googled and found one of the only recycling plants in the country that do it and I sent them there. They recycle everything, including the actual film reel and the cases. And I thought, brilliant. Imagine my Buffy VHS and all my Friends VHS becoming something else, for someone else. Amazing!

Okay, rant over. I'm probably preaching to the converted. And really I'm not preaching at all. I'm just angry that every time I walk into that bin store I want to start rearranging and pulling crap out of bins. Maybe I've found my new calling in life? My main point is: don't be a dick, recycle. Perhaps that should be the new advertising slogan.

Anyhoo, I'll be back later for my third annual Year in Books. And in the meantime, have a great final day of this shitty year we call 2016.

Rants out.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


I entitle this blog, Rusty, due to my infrequency of blogging, and also that I haven't written or edited in weeks. I feel I may be out of practise. But surely it's like riding a bike. You never forget. Right?
In order to blow off the cobwebs, I thought I'd tell you about my December so far, and some of the interesting, annoying, possibly great things that have happened. That should get the brain working and let the words take over. So here goes......

Well, December kicked off with me stressing about our annual dinner party: The Night of Five. The flat was a tip, we barely had a menu put together, and I had all the presents to wrap up and decorations to put up. Then an impromptu babysitting job, shat on my chances of catching up with any of the house stuff, leading to me having a slight freak out but being unable to turn the money down. Of course, in the end my stress was for nothing. And the extra money really helped. We hastily threw together a menu and I finally made successful meringues. Very successful meringues. Our guests received their customary five courses and I pulled a centrepiece out of my ass at the last minute.

The Centrepiece: A snowy tree. 

Though, twenty minute before the guests arrived, I ran down to take the rubbish and recycling, and it finally happened, the thing I dread every time I go down there: I dropped my keys in the bin. And they are those huge dumpster type bins. Oh crap. I had just showered and changed too. Clearly in future I should take the rubbish before showering. Not that I plan on going dumpster diving again any time soon. So, it was my first time jumping into a dumpster. And thankfully, there wasn't too much rubbish in there, all the rubbish was in bin bags, and I could actually see the keys, it was just that my arms weren't long enough. Stupid short arms for short people. If ever I needed go go gadget arms, it was in that moment. So I used my two recycling bags and placed them on the edge of the dumpster, to at least try and preserve the cleanliness of my jeans. I hopped on in there, fished out my keys and scrambled back out, all in the shortest time possible. Then I pissed myself laughing. I couldn't wait to get upstairs and tell A what an idiot I was. 

This month I set a new record for writing music reports, in that I completed 45 in 5 days. Though I did make my life easier, for once, and I typed them on the computer instead of hand writing them. To me that is a huge cop out but it was certainly quicker and allowed me to keep the right side of the sanity line. Which leads me to the last music classes of the term and some unlikely recurring incidents. Okay, so ladies, it's not often you get head butted in the lady parts, unless you work with kids who are all about the height of your lady parts. Man, it hurts. Then one of the other kids decided he was going to punch me in the lady parts. Honestly, twice in one lesson. I did shout at the second one though. The first one, the head butt, was an accident but the second was deliberate and not at all amusing. I told him to never ever do that to anyone. Ever! I think he got the message. 

I enjoyed an evening of calling out gender stereotyping in the Marks and Spencer's Festive Food brochure with the eight year old I teach and look after. He loves a catalogue. Who doesn't? And he's also food obsessed, and shaping up to be quite a good cook. But anyhoo, I digress. We were going through the catalogue and pointing out the hampers we would like, or the food we found irresistible, when we came across the dreaded: For Her and For Him sections. The first item was an afternoon tea hamper, with cakes and scones and biscuits and pink fizz. My charge rightly pointed out that it wasn't only for girls. He would love scones and biscuits and afternoon tea. He knew, obviously, the only thing he couldn't have was the pink fizz, but everything else he would have loved. Cue: a talk about gender stereotyping. 

I am so glad it was him that brought it up, because I feel this way every time I walk into a clothes shop, or a toy shop, and especially card shops. It's all pink for girls, blue for boys. Pirates on one side, princesses on the other. The girls bit here and the boys bit there and never the twain shall meet. And it's all bollocks and limiting and stupid and ridiculous! But what's great is that he's starting to see that. 

So we went through some more of the catalogue and talked about how it couldn't possibly be just for girls or boys, because it's food. Food is food. It has no gender. There is no reason why a particular drink or food should be aimed at men or women. We all need to eat and drink in order to live and survive. Though granted not all of us can afford to shop at M&S. Hilariously, in the: For Men section, everything was whiskey and cider and port, because women couldn't possibly like or want to drink any of those drinks. And he pipes up, but mummy likes cider. Exactly! When I saw him for his lesson this week, he remembered our chat and asked what is was called again. Gender Stereotyping. There's hope yet. 

Have you ever seen some one's doppelganger? I hadn't until last Wednesday, when having a nice belated birthday meet up with my friend. I came across the double of our mutual friend who lives in the North East, walking out of the restaurant we were in. He clearly had no way of being in London at that very moment, but it was him, just carrying a little more weight. I had to stop myself shouting out to him. Then of course, we had to call our friend straight away to see if it in fact was him, but he didn't pick up. Eventually we got through to him but he was in the North East, at home, not in central London. I don't know, I think somehow you don't want to think about there being someone out there that looks identical to you. It kind of shits all over the, I'm so unique thing, though granted they probably wouldn't be anything like you in any other respect. Still. It's kind of creepy. 

Oh and one more thing about that night, the stupid waiter guy was determined to get us to buy a bottle of wine, when we both insisted we wanted one large glass each and that was enough. Clearly he had to try and up sell, but when you have been told two or three times, just listen and bugger off. We go out to talk to each other, not spend valuable minutes explaining our reasons for not wanting to drink an entire bottle. Our choice. Bugger off. And because we were using the tastecard, he was also trying to persuade us to have starters which we declined due to our love of pudding. Then he asked us to promise we'd have pudding, which I realise we did promise to, but mainly just to shut him up and make him go away. But really, we have absolutely no obligation to do anything. If I want three main courses and nothing else, then so be it. If I want a starter and a dessert, I'll have it. I don't think I realised quite how annoying the guy was until having a couple of days to ruminate. 

And so, I'm almost up to date with the happenings of December so far. Sunday saw my 5th officially timed run of the year and my 4th 10 km of the year. I started off the year with a PB of 58.50 and had already shaved that to 58.17 in May, and 57.52 in October. So the heat was on. Could I shake a few more seconds off that time and finish the year on a running high? Well, as it turns out, yes, I could. I must be a winter runner, because my PB now stands at 57.02. Absolute shock and joy, as always. I'd never done one of these runs before for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. It was nice to have such small numbers, I think there were 533 people on my course. I'm used to doing the big runs with thousands of runners but maybe these smaller runs are where it's at. I'm also tempted to do the Greenwich run this Sunday, but we'll see. Greenwich Park is awfully hilly. 

 Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, sky, tree and outdoor Run complete. PB achieved. Happy Rants. 

I had my final Italian lesson of the year on Monday. I'm bottom of the class in terms of being able to speak out, coherently and speedily. But I feel like I'm not given enough time to work out what I want to say. And like they always say with kids when they are learning to speak, give them as much time as they need. Don't jump in and take the words away from them. I feel this should also be applied to adults learning a second or third or fourth language. You need time to process. Because you need to think about what you want to say, then translate it, and then get your mouth around the words. Unfortunately, the same sort of patience is not given to adults and often I am cut off mid-sentence leaving our resident annoyingly good at everything person - though I do really like her, it's just annoying that I'm not as good as her - to take over. I realise I should have written this on the feedback form, but she gave them to us at 9.05pm when the lesson had finished and my brain was frazzled, and I just wanted to go home and eat. Anyhoo, I'm not giving up. I've already signed up and paid for Module 2 Lower 2. My reading and writing is good. My listening is improving all the time, and I am using websites and TV shows and short stories and Grammar drills to delve deeper into the language. If I can just get over my talking fear, then next term will be a little easier. 

Well, if nothing else, this blog proves I can still write. And I still have brevity issues. So nothing much has changed. But December has seen a few firsts for me. To summarise:
  • My first dumpster dive. Hopefully my last. 
  • My first successful batch of meringues. I will be making them again. 
  • My first PB over 10 Km whilst wearing a Santa Hat.
  • My first year of studying the Italian language complete. Here's to the next one. 
Happy middle of the week, rants readers. 
How goes your December so far?