Book review – The whole shebang! Sticky bits of being a woman by Lalita Iyer

My rating: 4.5 stars!!! Loved this book!

Book & Author: The whole shebang! Sticky bits of being a woman/ Lalita Iyer

Genre: Funny/Non fiction/Feminist humour/Essays

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The funniest book in a long time, a walk in fall and a beer in a lonely pub- life:)

Ok, I know this is a little out of character for me- posting a book review just within a day! Especially when I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been falling behind my reading goals for the year. But before your conclude that I have cheated, I’d like to clarify, that this isn’t so. It was just a combination of a day with no office work or child to look after and this short and extremely funny book that I picked up to read- the result- finished a book in a day!! And I have to thank a friend who recommended this book to me- absolutely loved it!

Again, this is an Indian author I knew nothing about, until this friend suggested her book to me via an article. I quickly looked her up and started following both her blogs- and I have to say, Lalita Iyer had me hooked right from her blogs and I couldn’t wait to read this book of hers.

I wasn’t disappointed at all. She covers a lot of subjects- all women related and her take on them in each chapter. Her take is hilarious and almost 90% of the time I felt as if I was reading about my own thoughts on each subject and that’s what made this book so special to me. I didn’t learn anything new, nor was this book an award winning fiction (not that I’m aware of)- it just made me nod my head in agreement and laugh out loud, which I hadn’t done in a long time. I love books and I like to read books I can discuss and learn from, but there are some books that become special, just because they become a friend to you, while you are reading it. This was one such book:) Thank you Lalita Iyer, for writing such a brilliantly funny and honest book on what is like being a woman.

Although I might have literally highlighted the entire book on my kindle, here are some of my favourite lines/passages from her book. I will absolutely recommend this book to all my girl friends- read it, if you want to feel like you’re talking to me and want to have a laugh in general:) And let me know your thoughts too..

Balancing your period with the rest of your life was what the rest of your life was going to be.

When men ask me if I’ve put on weight, I say, “I gave birth. What’s your excuse?”

I find that food memories often have more texture and meaning than almost anything else. Very often I remember nothing of the places I visited, but I can taste them in my mouth.

The point is: our imaginary lovers seem to be going through the rest of their life quite breezily without us. Because love is mostly a woman thing: the chase of it, the romanticizing of it.

For the longest time, it’s been our friendships with other women that has allowed us to become who we truly are, as opposed to say, marriage or family.

I found change to be my most reliable companion.

I realised my child deserves the fuller, happier version of his mother. The writer. The feminist. The traveller. I was constantly rearranging my life so that the self-respecting feminist, the loving mother and the ambitious writer could coexist. It was hard. It still is.

Also, it is November already! How the hell is it November already?! Bloody cold November..where did 2017 fly by? 🙂

Book Review- Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book & Author: Bad Feminist: Essays/ Roxane Gay

Genre: Essay/Non Fiction/Feminism/Cultural equality

My favorite definition of “feminist” is one offered by Su, an Australian woman who, when interviewed for Kathy Bail’s 1996 anthology DIY Feminism, said feminists are “just women who don’t want to be treated like shit.” – From Bad Feminist: Essays

The statement above is my favourite line from the book as well. I didn’t know anything about Roxane Gay, until as part of the OSS (Our Shared Selves) book club recommendation of the month, her latest book- Hunger: A memoir of my body, was made. Everyone on the group then started talking about how amazing her most recent book is and how relevant it is. Everyone also started talking about her other book- Bad Feminist and how some members wanted to read that before Hunger. I read some rave reviews on Bad Feminist, so being a feminist myself, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one.

I really enjoyed the book. This book is a collection of essays, showing the author’s views on various subjects- ranging from the very serious topic of violence against women and racism to light hearted reviews of her favourite books and movies, or even criticisms of some of the more popular entertainment we have been unlucky to experience over the last few years.

With regards to feminism, she talks freely about a lot of relatable confusions, myths and hype we seem to hear about. She also talks about the many occasions where, although identifying as a feminist, she fails to act like one, or in other words, acts like a bad feminist- not because she doesn’t believe in them, but just because we’re human in the end of the day. I have the same failings as a feminist myself- on some days, I will dance to a very derogatory song about women, just because the tune is catchy. On some days, I will go to watch a soppy romantic movie with a ridiculous or stereotypical premise about the leading lady or the leading man, just because the actor looks good. On some days, I listen to a demeaning joke about how husbands have to ‘deal’ with the annoying ways of their wives, feel upset, and yet fake-smile, just because I don’t want to be branded as a feminazi who has no sense of humour. After all, she rightly points out:

Inappropriate humor is often the best kind. Everyone knows at least one joke she finds funny even though she shouldn’t.

But this doesn’t mean that I won’t stand up and make a hue and cry when I see injustice happening to a woman. When a woman is subjected to unnecessary violence. When a woman is denied certain rights, just because she is a woman, I get very angry. All this is mentioned in her essays too, and I really loved all those chapters.

The only reason I gave this book a 3.5 rating, was because I was unable to relate to certain subjects she covered- mainly relating to racism in America, because I have not faced this personally, or experienced it. I have read and watched a lot of movies regarding the subject, but as she rightly points out, movies do not do justice to the issue of racism or any other type of cultural inequality we face as humans. We have to understand that movies are made for entertainment- We cannot take them at face value as lessons learned. If you want to learn, read books, or watch documentaries- maybe. Or best option- study the subject and talk to people experiencing it. I loved the movies – Django Unchanined and Inglurious Basterds, when I had watched them- only due to pure entertainment purposes and because I like Christophe Waltz and his acting. However, now I have a completely different perspective to the movies after reading Roxane’s views on why these movies are so unjustly made on the subjects it supposedly addresses. Sigh..

Instead of offering me some new insights on this troubling reality, Django Unchained simply served as a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same. – Roxane Gay

I could go on and on about each chapter and essay she talks about, because there really is a lot to discuss and debate and feel indignant about, from each of the subjects she touches on. I would recommend this book to all my girl friends and my male friends- just because it is such a well written book and touches on subjects we should all be talking about at least, without being dishonest to ourselves.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the book if you’ve read it. Now, I’m wondering, which is the next book I should pick up. I’m lagging terribly in my reading goals this year..lol!

#Bossypants- Life with the new boss

I was promoted a year back and was moved into a new project and a new role, considering some miraculous capability I had developed from the promotion to take on new responsibilities, that I wasn’t aware of myself.

Before I started, my current boss informed me this will be a great opportunity. Time to learn and grow as an individual. This new project apparently was something a lot of people were after- very sought after, and yet challenging. Peers informed me, via gossip, that the new boss is appreciative but also very demanding, so I’d better have all my energy ready and try to prepare as much as possible in advance.

So, here has been the story so far, and I have to say, I am still struggling:

Months 1-3: Very excited to meet new boss!!! But new boss seems to be very upset with everyone, including me. Find out that the new boss is a very accomplished female herself. She has worked her way into this world and her current position through many sleepless nights and yelling at people and getting her work done one way or the other. I realise quickly, she is very clever and manages people very well. Everyone adores her and is also terrified of her- how does one achieve this? Should try and take notes soon.

Months 4-7: I feel so tired all the time! Although there is so much learning in this new project, I feel like I’m always falling behind! Some of my team members are really supportive, but there are many others who are so competitive! Always giving me unsolicited advice about how to be a better performer, and how to do my job better..ugh, really didn’t ask for all of this. Also, the requirements in the new project were very dynamic. Just last month, I was getting used to my boss’s demands and schedules and the objectives of the project, and now, everything has changed again! I have to adjust to a whole new set of routines and demands and requirements! I give up on my ego and take help from every person and artefact I can think of. I read self help books and join facebook groups and ask colleagues and peers to help me out

Months 8-12: I start seeing some improvement in my work and see distinctive changes in my boss. Although she is still very demanding, she has become more accepting of me as well. She comes to me when she needs something done, and that says a lot. Although, it makes things more demanding for me, I hardly have time or energy to lose all that weight I gained due to all the stress eating because my boss doesn’t sleep and won’t let me sleep either!

Months 12- to Present: Just when I thought things were turning to somewhat like a normal routine with all the errands and I was able to figure out all my boss’s tantrums and habits and schedules of deliverables, Bang! She changes.. without any warning at all! And to top that, she starts falling ill. Frequently, very frequently. Well, to admit , it was my idea to ask her to try some new places , spend time time outdoors and move to a different country to take some of her stress out. Didn’t know that it meant I would have to travel too and deal with all the illnesses! Now I have to work twice as hard because when my boss is ill, she becomes a werewolf. Turns into a scary howling creature every night, who won’t sleep and keeps me terrorised enough to not want to sleep either. Therefore – boss is werewolf and I am a zombie. We make a good pair. I did try to delegate some of my work to my partner , he knows my new boss almost like family by now. But it seems my boss is hell bent on having me as her crutch when she’s ill.

Hmm.. what I don’t understand is, how does she manage to be so lovable and cute and adorable inspite of all this?! How is it that every time I look at her smile or her tired face while sleeping, I realise how much I love her and admire her resilience. And how inspite of all my complaints and whining , I wouldn’t exchange her for any other boss or in this case – toddler in the world! Hahah yeah, got you didn’t I?! I think my 1.5 year old toddler is a bossy pants but she is my adorable bossypants and I can only pray that she gets well soon and hope that I’m doing an ok enough job as her employee to help her grow to be an admired and kind woman eventually😊

Do you have a bossypants child too? How do you manage the other job that pays you and find me time with a bossy baby?😊

From hardcover to audiobooks + book review for Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again“- The famous starting sentence from a famous book, that was long on my list of books to read. However, before I put down my book review, I wanted to talk about how I ‘read’ this book.

If you had asked me a decade back about my reading habits, I would have sworn by hardcover books. I always had a library membership when I was younger because I loved reading and there are only so many books one can buy with their pocket money. When I started earning, like my pocket money, most of it would go on books or stationary to make notes with on the book, or notes about, in my diary, while I read. I loved holding a new book, smelling the pages of the books, owning books, making them my own, and showcasing them in my makeshift book shelf wherever I lived.

However, I also had to move a lot- have always been a nomad. And in the process, I started finding it difficult to carry my prized books along with me everywhere. The volume of books started growing. Friends who I had lent books to, would misplace them or forget to return. Sometimes it added to extra backpack weight on the flights or everywhere I travelled. Also, I started wondering about the impact on the environment every time I bought a hard cover. Then, technology stepped in, and one of the greatest inventions of the decade was made for readers like me- Amazon’s Kindle.

When my sister first suggested I try it, I was very sceptical. I am not a tablet sort of person- and kindle looked like a tablet. It looked so boring- black and white pages, like a slate. I like my things colourful, or pages where I can make notes with colourful pens! I could not feel the pages, turn them with my fingers. However, they gave me one for my birthday anyway, and I decided to let my issues aside and give it a go. After the initial hiccup of getting used to an electronic device to read books on, I got completely hooked to it. I know it lacks a lot of things that original book lovers look for in a book, but I found it so useful! I could still make notes, highlight passages, carry all my books with me all the time on this weightless piece of device. I could read anywhere, any time. I had access to more books now. Basically, although I love paperbacks, I have now moved on with times and become a kindle reader.

Finally, comes the third part of my book reading transformation- how times and habits change with technology eh? Welcome to the world of audio books now. Again, when I heard about audiobooks in my book clubs, I used to wonder, how is this the same as reading? I mean, one isn’t actually reading, but listening to the book in question. Is that the same thing? Does it trigger the same feeling of satisfaction one gets while ‘reading a book’? So I came across this post by Jo Middleton Jo Middleton’s review, where she suggests trying this app called BookBeat to listen to some good books. I thought, what’s the harm? I can try this out. The first 2 weeks trial period is free, but after that the site charges you around 12 pounds per month- in which you can listen to as many books of different genres available on the app, as you please. I chose ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier as my first audio book and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed at all! The book was very well narrated, and I could listen to it without any restrictions on my mobile. I didn’t have to wait to be in the car, or at home to take my kindle out to read. I could listen to the story while cooking, while walking, while running, while eating during office lunch breaks- you get the drill. I just loved that. I know I missed writing notes or highlighting certain lines that I liked, but I need to figure out a way to do that-maybe pause and rewind and write down the line in a notepad I carry- must think of something.

A snapshot of how the app looks like on iPhone

 

Now, I have bought another book on my kindle and on the audio book app, and have also downloaded the ‘Audible‘ app from Amazon, which is cheaper in terms of monthly rentals than BookBeat, and also has a lot more variety of books. But I haven’t tried the app yet, so not sure if I can recommend it on this post. A snapshot of how the app looks like on iPhone.

So, all that said, here is my short review for Rebecca:

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book & Author: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

The book was read as part of an audio book and I loved the narration. It was scary and macabre and the background violin score was an icing on the cake. I could close my eyes and imagine all the characters and Manderly house as well. It was like listening to a movie- very well written. I did guess before the end, what part of the mystery was, however, the last page climax was very unexpected. Well written and well narrated on BookBeat. Recommended for fans who like macabre and mystery 🙂

So, my questions to you all:

  1. What are your thoughts on ‘reading’ a book via audio books? Would you consider books finished via narrations as books completed from your to-read shelf, or not?
  2. What are your thoughts on Rebecca? Did you find the narrator- the second Mrs. Du Winters a little annoying in the beginning? Because I did 🙂
  3. Why was the end or the verdict justified by the author? I disagreed actually..I don’t want to give away any spoilers, hence the vagueness of this question. I’m sure readers who have read this book will understand what I am hinting towards:)

Book review – Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding

My rating: 4 stars

Book & Author: Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding

Genre: Humour/Chicklit

I managed to finish this book as part of the second book for my birthday month, because I wanted to read something funny and wonderful and this was all that!

I’ve seen both the Bridget Jones movies and this is one of those rare occasions when I read the book after watching the movie adaptation. I thought I might get bored since I had already seen the movie, but I simply enjoyed reading Bridget’s diary so much!!

I loved the style of writing and I wasn’t offended by the use of short forms of funny, incomplete sentences because it is after all a Diary, and being a diary writer myself, I know one doesn’t care about punctuations and spelling and grammar when writing a diary, because there are more important things to be noting down- about the trials and tribulations of the day!

That said, I did wonder though that I’ve read Anne Frank’s diary- who was a 12 year old girl, and now I’ve read Bridget Jones’ diary, who is a 30+ old woman, and I must say, we have deteriorated with regards to the use of language. I am guilty of the same, but I am going to take a short cut and put the blame on the fact that we have so little time these days, because of work and being online (:D), that using proper sentences in one’s diary does not top the list anymore. I am actually glad that we still have some written diaries, because in the age of youtube, it wont be far when people are recording themselves in their ‘online’ diaries.

The story line in the book is slightly different from the movie, and there is a lot more focus on Bridget’s family and friends than just the love affair between Daniel and Mark, as shown in the movie, so I found that refreshing too.

So ladies, I would recommend this book if you want to laugh and want a short read- brilliantly funny.

Have you read any of the Bridget Jones’ books? What were your thoughts?

My experiences at the hair salon- the long and short of it

Everyone knows how difficult it is to be a woman. I’m not even talking about all the serious issues like equality, safety, freedom, biological clock, etc etc. I’m talking about the not-so-serious-but-very-important part that comes with being a woman- grooming! Yes, I can hear all the collective sighs from my fellow women friends and readers😏 I won’t even go down the full body grooming discussion here because that’s a whole article or maybe even a book (doesn’t The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf already cover that?) hehe

No, this post is just about my day at the hair salon this weekend- and what happens here always happens to me, every time I visit a hair salon. So here goes :

Previous day– Call and book appointment for hair cut. Booking lady asks all sorts of important questions about name and length of hair and the president of the United States ( no she didn’t ask that, but she could’ve)

Day of the hair cut– Schedule baby sitting arrangement with husband for an hour. I mean how long can it take to get a hair cut? Definitely not more than an hour? (Will realise later how badly mistaken)

Hair cut day, appointment time at 11:45 am– I’m ushered in by a very well groomed lady at the reception to a seat which says ‘diagnostics’. Yes I’m not kidding, it did say diagnostics. I’m asked if I want my jacket taken or would like some tea or coffee or water, but I’m very nervous because of impending ‘diagnostics’, hence decline politely.

12 pm– I’ve checked my phone and stared at my frizzy hair and my double chin and my pimples and am bored now. Everyone around me is super busy and is getting a hair cut. I think, what’s the point of making an appointment for 11:45 when no one has come to my diagnostics even 15 minutes later? I’m a mom for gods sakes and every minute is precious! Just when I start fidgeting around looking for someone to raise my concerns with, another very well groomed hair dresser comes to me and apologises for being late and says we’ll just get you shampooed and then start..thank God!:)

12:30 pm– Oh my the shampooing was so relaxing! I wish I had someone to shampoo my hair like that every day! I wanted to sleep on that shampoo chair so badly! If only I could lol .. anyway the pretty hairdresser is back and moves me to a different chair. Apparently diagnostics was not required. She removes my hair tie and says, “so what would we like today?”

Me, “I’m tired of my hair, can you cut is short please?”

Pretty hairdresser, “Ohh! Are you sure? You have nice hair and maybe we can trim it a little and thin it so it’s more manageable?”

Me, very nervously, because didn’t want to upset the pretty hairdresser for some reason, “Umm actually I have had a trim two weeks back that I paid 20 bucks for it looks the same to me. So I’d really like it to be short please”

Pretty hairdresser sighs but relents slightly. After 10 minutes of bargaining on the length of my hair, we agree on it being shoulder length- not too long , yet not too short.

12:45 pm– Hair cut starts and I ask if I can get some fringes too? I think I might have crossed a line since pretty hairdresser says, “Maybe we should let you get used to the length first and then you can always come back next week for fringes” Note to self, maybe will cut a lock of hair next week to get some fringes myself😉

1 pm– Hair cut done! Wow! I can go now! I was so hungry anyway, can’t believe it didn’t take too long! So I look expectantly at the pretty hairdresser and she says, “Yep, let me just blow dry your hair first”, with a smile.

1:30 pm– Still here, on the chair. Why? Why? I’m so hungry and scared to say anything to upset the pretty hairdressers. So I brave on. They’re putting some multiple creams and sprays and using blow driers and different types of combs and brushes and straighteners to dry my hair. No idea why. In between I’m also asked if I use any salon products- I don’t know what they mean. So I say, “Yes I shampoo and also use conditioner”! I don’t think that is the right answer, since I am given a tutorial on the importance of using salon shampoo and conditioners , anti frizz before blow dry cream, anti frizz sleek shine post blow dry spray, hair serum and some other very scientific sounding products. I wonder, the reason I’m getting my hair cut short is so that I don’t have to spend that much time washing and drying and styling my hair- major communication gap somewhere😊

1:45 pm– Over finally! Yay! The pretty hairdresser is very pleased. I however think it looks like a helmet. But I don’t have the energy to argue. So I beam too! At the counter, the pretty hairdresser somehow manages to sell me the anti frizz pre blow dry cream and my bill is a whopping 50 pounds!! Bloody hell!!! I need to learn how to cut my hair sigh..in hindsight, my hair does smell great for 2 days, until I shampoo and looks the same as before, just a little shorter .. lol!

And this 2 days later lol

Has anyone else gone through a similarly strange experience at the hair salons? Would love to hear your stories and have a laugh too.. lol

Also, if you thought my writing style was hilarious, I have to admit, its the after effects of reading a very funny book written in a similar style- review blog to follow soon! So grab a copy of that book, if you want to read similar stuff and laugh 😀

Anyway, hope everyone is having a good start to the week. Really sad to hear about the Vegas shooting. Prayers with the victims and praying to the Universe to give us humans some sense and stop all such mindless violence.

Norfolk broads- a Sunday afternoon well spent

I didn’t even know there were so many beautiful places around Ipswich to explore! A colleague had suggested Norfolk broads, which is 1.5 hours away by road from Ipswich. So we clubbed in with another couple friend who have a daughter of around the same age as ours and planned to spend Sunday at Norfolk broads😊

What we did: Well, just hire a private self drive boat and spend the afternoon boating! (Is that a word?) It cost us 18 pounds per hour and we booked the boat for 3 hours, which is enough considering two toddlers in tow😊 you can carry drinks and food on the boat too and depending on your budget, you can hire some luxury boats too!

My highlights of the trip: I just loved the boat ride and the views. Hadn’t seen anything like this before, I mean I have been on backwater boat rides which are beautiful- Kerala in India for example. But this was different because there were private houses along the backwater and well you could sail your own boat! How awesome is that?! The other best part was that the toddlers loved it! Initially my daughter was a little skeptical about the whole boat thing and she hated wearing the life jacket (there was a tantrum regarding that.. lol). But once she got the hang of it, she loved it! Even I got to put up my feet for 10 minutes without being disturbed by anyone and just loved the sound of the water and the quiet and the breeze on my face 😊

My lowlights: I couldn’t find any fault with this outing. The weather was perfect- bright and sunny, my daughter was more than well behaved and accommodating (what more can I ask for? Lol), and the boat ride was superb! But if I had to think then the only thing I probably missed doing was mooring the boat and having a pint at one of the canal bars 😊 but we didn’t have much time and didn’t want to test our luck with the good behaviour of the toddlers, so headed back instead and had that pint at home.. heheheh win win eh😉

How was everyone else’s weekend? Is there anything else to experience at Norfolk broads that anyone would recommend?

Traveling with toddler- day trip to Bury St Edmunds

We live in Ipswich, UK. Our 17 month old is growing up and figures she doesn’t like being in the car seat for too long. We like to see new places and travel. Parents were over from India.

Solution: let’s try out some of the nearby towns in Suffolk for a day trip and we chose Bury St Edmunds😊

Post breakfast, we left home by 10:30 am and it was a quick 40 minute drive from Ipswich, which wasn’t too bad for my little girl since she had mommy and grandma entertaining her! Now there are a lot of things to see in Bury, but we didn’t want to spend too much time there, so we had planned to see a few things only.

We stopped at the Abbey gardens first. The weather, although was forecast to be sunny, turned out to be cloudy and chillier than expected. Nevertheless we got the toddler in her buggy and walked down to the gardens. It’s a cute little garden with some ruins and a small fish pond in the centre- which I think is a major attraction with all the children😊

We walked about in the park and then headed towards the St Edmundsbury Cathedral, which is right attached to the park. You can see the Cathedral in the backdrop of the picture above too. The church was beautiful and my daughter had a grand time exploring all the pews and passageways in the Cathedral. Next stop on my list was a visit and a drink in Britain’s smallest pub – The Nutshell. It’s a short walk to the main town centre market from the park and even a shorter walk to the pub. We found it and it was so exciting having a drink there with my dad! Obviously like all tourists, I tagged myself on Facebook too..lol! My husband had to sacrifice getting inside the pub though since it was too small to have a toddler and a buggy in there too!

My daughter had started to feel sleepy and hungry by now, and it started drizzling lightly too, so we rushed to a nearby Italian restaurant called Prezzo for lunch and found that this place must be very popular with children since the place was brimming with parents with kids and babies in about an hour! The food was delicious and my baby was able to eat some pasta and bread there too😊

With a final stop over at the soft serve shop for a round of ice cream post lunch, we finally headed back to Ipswich by 2 pm. My daughter slept all the way through, she was so tired😊 and I loved the place and so did my parents. We might even visit here again, I guess..

Have you been to Bury St Edmunds? What would you recommend seeing here?

September book review #1 – Be Awesome: Modern Life for Modern Ladies by Hadley Freeman

9780007485703

For September- my birth day month, I’ve decided that I’ll read one book that might inspire me, one funny book with a strong woman lead and a last book of any genre, based on a recommendation from my Goodreads friends.

So, I picked up this book as my choice for the book that might inspire me, and here is my review:

My Rating: 3 Stars

Book & Author: Be Awesome: Modern Life for Modern Women by Hadley Freeman

Genre: Feminism, Humour

I’ve finished this book and I still cant make up my mind whether I would like to recommend this book to my friends or not, hence the 3 stars.

What I liked about the book was that I learnt about a lot of new things- the issues women face in America and UK, about new books and movies and inspiring women that I should look up or follow, or things I should avoid, if I’m a feminist. But what I didn’t like about the book was the overall tone of the book. I understand that this was a funny and sarcastic take on the comments and issues women have to face, but even then, too much sarcasm makes me annoyed sometimes:)

Also, as a reader, I like books that are well written. One doesn’t need to use complex sentences or words, but I really get put off by the use of new age words or phrases- such as ‘amirite’ for ‘Am I right’. Or books that are written as if someone was talking to you. I know I myself am guilty of writing in a similar manner, if you read some of my blogs, but that would be the difference between me (an amateur) and an accomplished writer who has published a book- shouldn’t it be? I don’t need the book to be complex and poetic like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (that would be the levels of experts in the language I would assume), but I do like books written with good simple English and grammar- such as the last book I read- Still Life by Louise Penny or even JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series 🙂

That said, this wouldn’t be my first choice of recommendation if I had to suggest a book on feminism to my friends. But if you have time on your hands and want an easy laughable read, then this is a book you could pick up.

My favourite lines from the book, for a few laughs:

My general attitude to sex is similar to the one I have to exotic travel: happy to experience it as an activity, somewhat less interested in reading about it.

Talking about exercise burns exactly the same amount of calories as doing exercise.

It’s the coward’s way, in other words, the approach that is boring and safe, in which the reliability of the outcome is in no way worth the monotony of the process

Maybe THAT’S the secret: it’s not that women have to be boring and not funny to attract men, they just have to talk on the heavy exhale.

– My gosh, I laughed for 5 minutes at this one!

Nothing – not meth, not sunbeds, not even the passage of time – is more ageing than you saying you’re too old for something.

– Amen, thought for the day, and the week and the month and the year

Never cast judgement on another woman’s weight, parenting skills, marriage or general lifestyle, unless you do it to men too. But really, don’t do it to either gender. It’s just ugly.

– Bang on!

Similarly, when so few movies feature genuinely platonic friendships, this sends the message that the only point of the sexes interacting is to have sex. Anything else is boring and/or impossible.

– This is a topic that me and my male friends discuss a lot. It really is annoying, the culture that has been created by films globally, that opposite genders cannot have a fun filled platonic relationship. It is exasperating.

There are many more that I have highlighted, but I’ll read the rest to you to read, if you pick up the book:) Has anyone else read this book? What are your thoughts on it?

3 Tips for toddler-traveling parents- based on my getaway to Wetton in Peak District, UK

Let me start by saying, (and I think all parents can relate to this, even my own parents I think), that there are no vacations for parents. Children have vacations, single people have vacations, maybe even some newly formed couples have vacations. Parents, don’t have vacations- some parents however, have public holidays and weekends and this strange urge to experience new things, therefore, they brave what is to come, and ‘Travel’. Yep, some parents, travel. Because, they’re curious, because their inner child wants to continue to be amazed and wowed even at the age of 35 and because, that one moment of joy experienced with your family, that one moment of seeing something breathtakingly beautiful for the first time, even in 35 years, makes all the 95% of the remaining time of dealing with your toddler, worth it. Lol!

So, if you’re one of those ‘bitten-by-the-travel-bug’ parents, here are the 3 things I learnt about traveling with a toddler (16 month old to be precise), from my first hand experience of the long weekend getaway to a village called ‘Wetton’ in Peak District, UK:

  • Lesson learnt #1: If you’re doing a road trip and have a toddler like mine (meaning- will not sit still in the car seat for more than 5 mins, unless she is sleeping), then, do not plan a drive longer than the time you can constantly sing songs and engage them with videos on your phone or show them a ‘Truck!’ everytime one passes by. Another tip is to leave during their nap time- that’s what we did, we left in the morning around her nap time, so half an hour into the drive, she slept off- thank the stars above! The rest of the way, mommy had to become a joker..ahem. We haven’t had the courage to plan road trip beyond 3.5 hours I’m afraid (and that includes stops)- so if you have done a longer trip, I’d love some tips! Also, be prepared for at least one stop for lunch or a break at the services (we stopped at the Cambridge Services and it was really good, with a play area for kids), and for pee breaks, if either of the passengers has a weak bladder like me, and is not the one wearing a diaper 😀

    Trying hard to get her to go back into the car- at the Cambridge Services 😀
  • Lesson learnt #2: The place you stay at, will be the most important decision you should make or plan for. It should have a kitchen, or a full time available cook (or a partner converted into a full time cook..lol), really good play areas, as many distractions as possible to have your child entertained, so you don’t have to carry or pack too many of their favorite toys- which could be all of them. The cottage we had booked- Halls holiday cottage was just exactly what we had wished for. It had the most amazing views to wake up to, a built in kitchen, fridge, oven, microoven- the works, a huge couch with a TV (yes TV!!! I hadn’t seen one in 5 months!! lol), 1.5 beds, a bathroom with a bathtub, utensils, an outdoor play area with swings and slides, and an indoor play barn with all sorts of toys you could imagine! I think more than anyone else, our daughter loved the place and the play areas! All she wanted to do was be outside and play- that did create a bit of a problem when we had to bring her in to bathe, eat and sleep, some expected resistance- but that meant, she was totally enjoying it!! My favorite part of the cottage was the view from the window and that couch in front of the TV!! lol..I’d retire/chill with my drink on that couch, talk to my husband and watch TV (Ok yes, I might be a TV addict) when the toddler went to bed and then I’d wake up to the beautiful view from the window to have my morning cup of coffee. Just awesome!
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Her Favorite car
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The indoor play barn
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Our cottages
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My favorite spot in the living room and the kitchen 🙂
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The morning view from the window…sigh
  • Lesson learnt #3: As I mentioned earlier, there are no vacations for parents and you’ve got to be practical and not plan like the traveler that you used to be, pre-baby times. Now pre-baby traveling meant, packing light, living in hostels, and spending as little time at the hotel/hostel as possible- backpacking and eating out mostly, experiencing the local art, culture and cuisine as much as possible. Fast forward to current post-baby era. Traveling now means packing literally everything for the toddler- many many many clothes, socks, diapers, bibs, bottles, formula, snacks, sunscreen, hats, toys, books, medicines, her favorite pillows, her towel- you get the picture (the parents’ bags in contrast still contained as little as possible- because who has the patience really?), living in a luxury cottage and trying to spend as much time indoors with a strict nap time/meal time and bed time routine and trying to experience the bare minimum you can get away with, without ruining the toddler’s patience. Lol! So, although there were like a gazillion things to see in this village, many walks and many cafes and pubs to hang out and have meals at- we restricted ourselves to just exploring some walks around the village, eating one meal at the cafe and one meal with some drinks at the local pub, and we weren’t disappointed at all:) To add to it, even the toddler wasn’t disappointed because she got to see Moo Moo (cows), Baa Baa(the sheeps), and tuck tuck (the chickens) up close, and we also managed to get her to nap during one of our meals at the cafe! win win, do I hear? 😀 This does not mean however, that we went tantrum free- there were moments, when it was the battle of wills and the toddler trying to get her way by ‘lying prostrate anywhere she seemed fit’ and embarrass her parents..lol..sometimes she won, sometimes we won..;)

 

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Close encounters with the Moo Moo!
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Yes, I can see the PUB..no need to make it that obvious..lol
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Can you believe there was a house in the village with that art in the garden? spooky!
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Walks and impending nap time
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on top of Wetton hill, right after close encounters with the baa baa 😀
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The best pint of lager we’ve had in a while
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The best walk we had in ages 🙂

 

To wrap up, we had a lovely trip- it was tiring at times, I will admit to that, and there were times when I wished maybe this wasn’t such a great idea, but one look at the breath taking views, the morning coffees, the laughter on my daughter’s face, the content in my husband’s face- made it totally worth the trip 🙂 Has anyone else experienced similar conundrums while traveling with their toddlers? Would love to hear your stories and experiences too 🙂