On Baking & Perfectionism

On Wednesday I baked brownies for the first time! They were fudgey and warm and delicious and everything that good brownies should be.

I don’t make things very often, and when I do they often go wrong. Not necessarily wrong enough that they could be considered a disaster or failure – just not what I had in mind. As someone who has highly unrealistic expectations in all things, this isn’t so good. If things don’t turn out exactly like I imagined them, it feels like there must have been something I could have done better.

The brownies were a success; they did stick to the pan a little, and they might have been a little too crumbly, but I was the only one who noticed those things, and they were still the most delicious and perfect of all brownies. It feels good to be able to make something and not be left with a feeling of disappointment. The secret is probably not learning to look past imperfections so much as actually trying to make something in the first place. The more you do, the more you’ll get right. Most importantly, the more you try, the more brownies you end up with.

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? [review]

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a collection of personal essays and stories written by actress and comedian Mindy Kaling. I generally don’t read memoirs, but I wanted to branch out – also I love Mindy in The Office, so I was looking forward to seeing what she had to say.

Mindy’s writing had a super friendly tone, and she’s a good storyteller. While I didn’t find the majority of her stories particularly interesting, she had a way of telling them that held my attention for the most part of the book.

Mindy talks about her childhood, her nemesis of a bicycle, her babysitting years and her rise to fame as a writer and actress. She serves up plenty of opinions while she’s at it, listing her top ten favourite moments in comedy, what she thinks the perfect guy should wear and do, and her favourite tropes in romantic comedies.

Once you’re three-quarters through the book and chapters such as Why Do Men Put Their Shoes on So Slowly? start to surface, it feels as though the book has run out of places to naturally go. Some of the essays seem to go nowhere and serve just as ways to fill up the second half of the book. After the first half of the book I began to lose interest as the essays seemed drawn out; I also wasn’t particularly interested in the essays on things such as how many pairs of jeans and shoes the ideal man should own, etc.

Overall I thought this was a fairly entertaining read, and if you’re into memoirs by relatable female comedians, this should be right up your alley. The author’s unique voice and chatty writing style make this stand out. Maybe this wasn’t my cup of tea so much, but it might be yours.

☕☕ [2/5 cups]

I’m pretty new to reading biographies; if you like, leave a comment with a memoir/biography that you’ve enjoyed!

On Reading

The best New Year resolution I made this year was to read more, and it’s been the resolution that I’ve been doing the best job of keeping. I’ve read a handful of novels over the past couple months, and I’ve been working to fit more reading time into my day.

It’s nothing like when I was a kid though – I used to max out my card every time I visited the library. I’d carry bags, backpacks – even a suitcase on wheels sometimes – and once I got home I’d stack the 30-odd books in an unlikely-looking tower in the corner of my room, just to see how the spines would look together.

Maybe compared to when I was a kid I’m not really reading much now,  but what with library studies and my mind being arid, I don’t have the time or energy to be the obsessive reader I used to be. I’m okay with that though! Nobody has as much time as they did when they were kids. It doesn’t make me less of a book lover.

I want to keep up the reading, and I want to start posting some reviews on here too! I’ve started following a lot of bookstagrams, and they’ve been super inspiring – maybe I could start taking aesthetically pleasing photos of my books too?

If you like, let me know in a comment if there’s something that you like to make time for in your life!

(IMAGE SOURCE: http://memories-mint.tumblr.com/image/154258059470)

march 20: conquer

Hello everyone. For the past couple weeks I’ve been working on my uni assignments; I finished and submitted one yesterday, and I have two to go!

The one I’m currently working on is for Literature Resources for Children and Young People. It’s definitely one of the more interesting courses I’ve taken – I’d never really stopped to think about how important children’s literature is, and I’d never guessed there would be so much to learn! There are six different types of picture book if you can believe it… the paper also focuses on Young Adult literature too, which I’ve always been interested in.

So, for my assignment right now I’m writing some small book reviews for children’s books. I’m posting them on another wordpress – I was going to post them here but I feel like creating a sideblog would be more professional. I have several thousand words in essays to conquer in the next ten days, so wish me luck!

on disney’s first openly gay character.

So a few days ago the director of the upcoming live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast revealed in an interview that LeFou will be Disney’s first openly gay character. There has been a lot of hype about this. ‘This Disney film is going to make history’ and all that.

Predictably, there are people who are now boycotting the movie, because Homophobia™. One theater in Alabama is actually refusing to show the film at all; their reasoning is, in their words, that “when companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand.” Some people are literally even threatening to boycott Disney altogether. Kind of pathetic.

On one hand, finally having LGBT+ representation in a Disney film is wonderful. On the other, this might not be so much of a ‘film history’ kind of moment as people are expecting. This Cosmopolitan article (spoiler alert to anyone who reads it!) describes the scene which director Bill Condon had called an ‘exclusively gay moment’.

There has also been a lot of talk about why LeFou was a poor choice of a character to be given this storyline. If you aren’t familiar with Beauty and the Beast, LeFou is the cunning and doting sidekick of the movie’s villain, Gaston. His name literally translates to ‘the fool’ and ‘the madman’. In the original film, while not romantically desiring him, LeFou hugely respects and looks up to Gaston, and puts up with a great deal of abuse from him. He is loyal to Gaston despite being physically thrown, punched and hit in the head with the barrel of a gun. This is all shown as comedic relief, of course, and LeFou’s purpose pretty much seems to be existing as comic relief too. Possibly not the best and most respectful choice for Disney’s first gay character?

I’m still very excited to watch Beauty and the Beast when it comes out in New Zealand cinemas, and I’m happy that Disney has finally gotten around to writing an openly gay character. While I don’t want to completely make my mind up before seeing the film, I’m not going to have my hopes up. Based on what I’ve heard, the representation is subtle enough to not be worth the hype surrounding it.

Not Like the Other Girls: How to Fail at Writing a Feminist Character

I’ve been reading a number of popular works on Wattpad recently. Something I’ve noticed about the novels in the increasingly popular Teen Fiction genre is that the protagonists (who are almost always female) are written as being absolutely perfect. Some authors have tried to avoid writing their characters as ‘Mary Sues’, and some have gone for ‘feminist’ protagonists who break the stereotypes you generally see in these online novels. Thing is, the authors don’t really seem to understand what feminism is. In addition, there are some dodgy ways that Wattpad authors try and fail to write feminist stories, and I’d like to talk about a few of them over time.


Not like the other girls.

This is when the author decides that it’s time to try defying stereotypes, and writes their main character  – Mia  – as a tomboy of sorts. She doesn’t wear makeup, she hates One Direction, and she loves being ‘one of the boys’. Maybe she’s into sports, maybe she doesn’t care about her looks. Hell, maybe she even orders a burger instead of a salad when she goes out.

Thing is, it doesn’t matter what Mia enjoys doing, because the focus of her personality and interests is on what she doesn’t do. This is often voiced in the story itself – because people like Mia firmly believe that they are not like the other girls.

This isn’t just about Wattpad characters, either – you see this in pop culture all the time! The main character is very proud to that they aren’t a ‘plastic’ girl who is interested in makeup and clothes and boys. They care about things that really matter!

Mia is everything that the other girls are not, and that’s what makes her good, the story tells you. Being yourself is a decent message in itself, but that isn’t what it’s about in this case. Mia isn’t a feminist character for not caring what boys think and not wearing makeup. She looks around at the other girls at her generic American high school and believes that she’s better than all of them by default. She doesn’t own a pair of high heels so she isn’t an ‘airhead’ like everyone else. So long as she’s putting people down to create a pedestal for herself, Mia is hardly a female character to root for.


If you’re going to write a character and you don’t want her to be a stereotypical Wattpad heroine, that’s good. If you want her to enjoy things that aren’t as feminine as the interests of her classmates, that’s good too! Your character can have platonic relationships with male characters and choose not to wear makeup. She can hate Starbucks and never wear dresses. She can even eat the god damn burger.

Just know that the second your character looks down on the girls around her for being ‘fake’ or wearing lipstick, you’ve failed to write a feminist character. You’re saying that the more feminine a girl appears, the less deserving of respect she is. That isn’t a message anyone should be spreading.