I lived in Amsterdam for four years and I still sometimes get asked for recommendations for things to do in the city. So, rather than type out the same suggestions again and again, I thought I’d write up a post that I can link to. I lived in Amsterdam from 2013-2018 so it’s likely that some of this information will become outdated!Continue readingThings to do in Amsterdam
Warning: this post contains spoilers!
On a recent holiday I decided to switch up my reading and go outside my nature writing, non-fiction comfort zone. At the time I was doing an internship with a publisher, so I had access to lots of free galleys (the bound uncorrected proofs that are sent as advanced copies to reviewers). I decided to read two of their new and forthcoming titles: The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher. In between those two books I also read Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (it was a very reading intensive trip!).Continue readingReading outside my comfort zone (and the art of creativity)
If you spend any time in the book blogger/Instagrammer sphere you’ll come across the acronym TBR, which stands for to be read. Any reader will have a TBR list of some sort, even if it’s just mental. Spend enough time in bookshops and libraries or following authors on Twitter and your list just starts to grow.Continue readingThe never ending TBR pile
Can it really have been a year since my husband and I landed in Toronto to start our new life here? In a way it feels like no time at all has passed. Despite the big move our lives have a rhythm that feels old and comfortable. We still wake up too early on weekdays and go to bed later than we should, we still cook the same meals, and we still snuggle up on the couch in the evening to watch Netflix.
And yet, our lives have changed quite a bit. Shortly after we moved to Toronto we flew back to Amsterdam for my husband’s graduation. At a party a friend commented on my husband’s new haircut and glasses, to which my husband responded, yep I’m just tearing it up, burn everything. In a way it does feel like we tore up and burnt the rule book of our old lives.Continue readingA year in Toronto
I do everything slowly. I walk slowly. I eat my food slowly. I get dressed slowly. As a kid my slowness was a constant source of frustration to my mum. In the morning she would urge me to hurry up so I wouldn’t be late for school. Stop being a snail was a common refrain. I was always the last kid out of the school doors at the end of the day. I guess my mum’s first clue should have been the fact that I was born five days late and even then I had to be delivered by cesarean section because I hadn’t turned around yet.
Wednesday, March 20 – Today was the first day of spring. It didn’t feel like spring when I caught the bus this morning. The bus shelter was laced with ice and I crunched over frozen puddles. As the bus drove past my local park, I looked out over the still-frozen pond, ringed by frost-tinged trees and grass. Just as I had seen them gathering at the start of winter, the pond was busy with geese. They have been honking overhead for days now, heralding the changing season. As the bus turned a corner, I saw a distant tall, glass building glowing pink. I looked behind me and saw the sun rising above the horizon, a sliver of pink.
Bookshops often lump nature writing together with books about gardening and pets and I’ve always balked at this grouping. Gardens and pets belong to the tamed world of humans, nature writing explores the wild beyond the doorstep. Of course, when I reflect on it, I don’t actually think that. But it’s still my immediate reaction. The implication is that books about gardens and pets are somehow lesser, not worthy of mingling with the likes of Richard Mabey and Robert Macfarlane.
I always thought that if I got a pet, I wouldn’t allow it to “taint” my online persona (whatever that is). But I recently adopted a puppy and screw it, I’m going to write a blog post about him.
Goodreads allows you to set a reading challenge for the year, indicating how many books you would like to read that year. Every year since I joined Goodreads in 2013 I have set myself a reading challenge – usually to read 50 books – and every year I’ve failed to reach my goal. In 2015 I apparently realised 50 books was too ambitious and lowered by goal to 30 books, which I also failed to reach!
As a kid my family and I would go out into the countryside – usually the Peak District – on nice weekends to hike and rock climb. I was a pretty fearless kid and I loved climbing. I was pretty good at it to – I had a flexibility I’m envious of now.
I lost interest in rock climbing as a teenager, but I’m finally getting back into it. Now my husband has the bug too and we’ve started going indoor bouldering (there aren’t any rocks in the Netherlands) twice a week.
Recently, a colleague sent me a link to a campaign by BirdLife to save the Spoon-billed sandpiper. The campaign uses the hashtag #SaveSpoonie and there are pictures of cute, fluffy chicks. Whilst I aww-ed at the pictures I also couldn’t help but wonder, are cute animals being saved at the expense of less cuddly, fluffy animals? Is conservation too cute?