Saturday, 31 January 2015

Manuary - reading men in january

 Hello! So these are the books I read in Manuary - which is the celebration of only reading male authors in January. We decided on Manuary this year as I naturally just read the ladies, and this year me and bert are trying to read out of our comfort zone. In 2015 we are going to be reading HARDER! 

Anyway, here's what went down in Manuary:

I started the month with You Get So Alone by Charles Bukowski  which was super manly and also turned out to be great. If you have watched the movie Beautiful Creatures you may recognise the Bukowski....(and maybe you should watch that movie - it's a mixture of being perfect and then jumping the shark). 
Next up was Woodsman by Ben Law which was poop. I like a woodsy nature book as much as the next person (in fact more) but I don't think Ben is much of a writer and he had some dubious ideas about education and stuff. Was glad to finish it.

Then it was the turn of Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle. Darnielle is the singer from Mountain Goats whom I love... and the writing here was (as expected) spot on. Shame a bit about the structure and the plot though. I would still recommend this as even though it didn't quite  work it has stayed with me. 
Then I read Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon which was great. 
Dan Chaon does some sublime writing here and structurally and plottily he is really top notch. This novel was page turnery, literary, surprising and complex - I have no idea why it has taken me so long to read it (it's been on my bookshelf since 2009). After I finished this I started about four other books and gave up on them all.... I had to admit to myself that I had a book hangover... so I waited for it to pass by reading The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews which is a teen book that had had super good reviews on goodreads. There was a whole pile of funny stuff in this teen book and I laughed out loud quite a bit, but it wasn't great overall.

So that was Manuary. What did you read this month? have you read any of these books? are you going to read more out of your comfort zone this year? read more diversely? to read harder?

And if you want to know what bert read in Manuary - take a look right here

Monday, 19 January 2015

yoga teacher training course

this is me at the end of day four of yoga teacher training.
The course is a 200 hour one and runs from january to november over a number of long weekends. 
The last few days have been a bit of a learning curve and I'm glad I have today off work to process it all. (although I have booked a hot yoga class for later....)
There are eighteen people on the course and it's a nice mix of ages and yoga experience and abilities. The first day I found very overwhelming and wished I'd done a lot more reading about yoga and a lot more classes....
but by the second day I felt better and more at home and after four days of yoga (and travelling - it takes me a couple of hours to get to the place i'm training and then a couple of hours home obvs) it feels weird to be sitting on the sofa writing my blog today. 
so, I need to do some reading today.
then I  need to....
develop a home practice and do it every day
meditate every day
understand anatomy
go to at least one class a week
observe 6 classes
prepare a presentation on one of the yoga sutras
write an essay on the yoga sutras

are you doing anything new and scary in 2015?
have you done a yoga teacher training course?

Monday, 12 January 2015

campfire moonlight whiskey dylan

roots and feathers

I just ordered this sweatshirt.
Although I won't be looking as good as Laura does in the above picture.
I do like Campfire, Moonlight and Dylan...
Whiskey not so much.
I can work on that.
to order the sweater or any of the other gorgeous t-shirts they make
visit skyline fever

Sunday, 11 January 2015

instagram catch up....

how cute does sadie look here??

shelley sent me this gorgeous
 limited edition sonny angel!
books I've been reading...
haven't finished this yet

oh gosh, rebel belle was totally fun
looking forward to the next book in
the series!
Little sonny angel in a dome...

this book was good, not great
but good.
it's written by the singer from
The Mountain Goats.
Love, love, love this picture.
a girl did it in one of my workshops
it's based on a Sisley painting of cliffs

a christmas cd
Dirty Three!
argh. so good
My mum gave us this cushion.
it's a delight.

Bert not wanting his photo taken....
This picture is also from the workshop
based on a Cezanne

I insist on a filter on all photos of me
Lana Del Rey is the greatest
that is a fact
sweet picture from the workshop
first we talk about the Impressionists....
then we draw pics....

blogs and blogging....

I hestitate to call this a blog 're-design'... but I have moved some stuff around.
I have removed lots of blogs from my blog list on the side bar - mostly because the blogs hadn't been updated in a while... 
If you have a new blog, can you let me know?
What blogs should I follow?
What blogs are you liking?
please tell me! 
also, excitingly, the lovely bert has started a blog - it's going to be about books and music in the main I think, but other things too of course! go say hi!
I think it was the fact that bert's blog was looking so pretty that I thought I should do a bit of work on mine....

some things i'm excited about...

I am currently in the throes of Manuary (reading only books by male writers in January)  about which I will share with you at the end of the month ('citin huh?).
And I admit that I am missing the ladies. 
but, but, I found some REALLY great stuff that's coming out soon.
first off - a memoir by Kim Gordon!
I am so excited to read this - apparently it's going to cover her childhood, 80s and 90s New York, her break up with Thurston Moore and, of course, MUSIC.
To be honest I am still reeling from Kim and Thurston's break up (it happened in 2011, so I need to get over it) and I used to LOVE Thurston so much and now there's a little part of me that doesn't.

The book is coming out at the end of February.

When I think about my most favourite books ever (a difficult task) I always come back to 'Paint it Black' by Janet Fitch. I LOVE this book so much, I prefer it to Fitch's previous book 'White Oleander' which is a bit controversial of me. Apparently Janet Fitch is writing a new novel set during the Russian revolution, I cannot wait.
So, I heard that there was going to be a film of Paint it Black.... and then I heard that Amber Tamblyn was writing and directing the movie version! yes!
I heart Amber Tamblyn
I think it's going to be great (I hope it's going to be great!)
It's currently in post-production so am not sure when it will be out.

And finally.
Have you read Patti Smith's memoir 'Just Kids'?
if you haven't, go read it, because it is one of the most beautiful books ever written. I haven't met anyone who doesn't love it - well, someone bert knows said they didn't like it but they are just wrong - it is so inspiring and gorgeously written.
I almost had a panic attack when I found out yesterday that there is a follow up coming out this year! 
although I'm thinking we shouldn't overhype it for ourselves, because realistically, it can't be as good as Just Kids, but it's still going to be one of the best books we read this year, right?

it's coming out in september.....

Is there anything you are looking forward to this year books/movies/music wise?
tell me! 
I am also secretly looking foward to seeing the 'Fifty shades of grey' film..... la la la.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

seitan bourguignon

seitan bourguignon guys!
like beef bourguignon!  But Seitan!
I have never eaten beef bourguignon... 
but this happened:
I am having a dry january* but we needed wine for pasta sauce so I went and bought a bottle. We only used a little so it meant that we had almost a full bottle of wine left over. what to cook? what to cook?
luckily, I have watched the movie Julie and Julia about half a million times, and luckily I had just watched it and remembered the beef bourguignon... how she first makes it and burns it and then makes it again and its delicious.
I remembered all this while in the relaxation part in a yoga class.
So we bought seitan and I looked online for some recipes and there's a whole 'thing' where people are veganising Julia Child recipes! uh-huh!

anyway, this is how we made it.
I fried the seitan in olive oil until browned and then put aside.
Next I fried 3 siced carrots and two finely chopped onions. 
after they'd cooked a little while I added 3 chopped garlic cloves and added the sietan back in.
after that I mixed in 2 tablespoons of flour and some nutrional yeast flakes and stirred them in and put it in a heated oven for about five minutes.
After that, I returned it to the heat and added  about 3/4 bottle of red wine, some dried mixed herbs and a tablespoon of tomato puree.
Then it just goes in the oven to cook for about an hour.
you might need to check it every now and again and add some water.

it was good.
it was pretty rich. I was worried it would taste of wine, but it didn't, it just tasted of awesome.
we had it with bread, but I fancy it would be good with mash and peas.

*I had wine

Thursday, 8 January 2015

vegan burgers - how i cracked the code

these are burgers before going in the oven.
I baked these ones rather than fried them... 
here they are cooked! we had them with sweet potato and puy lentils.
so vegan burgers. 
and cracking the code.
this isn't a recipe for burgers, rather it's a formula... the way to make burgers so they work every time and also stay together (which can be a challenge for vegan burgers).
here is what i've found works best... (but let me know if you have any vegan burger tips!)

you need a grain - rice or quinoa
you need a bean - any kind - chick pea, kidney bean, butter bean, black bean....
and then veg - onion and carrot, or sweet potato or maybe beets - and rather than chopping them, grate them or mash them - it really does help!
then some flavouring - some chilli perhaps? or fresh ginger? or maybe some fresh herbs?

also, let it rest before shaping into patties - you probably won't need flour, but you could add a bit at the end (or some nutritional yeast flakes) just to roll them in.
fry or bake!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

books of the year 2014

so kids, here are our lists of the top ten books we read this year.
we are talking about books we read this year, so not neccessarily books that were published this year.
oh gosh, we love to read.
this year I have read 89 books and Bert read 80
we have lots to choose from for our top 10!
here goes!

Sian's Top Ten Books of 2014
California by Edan Lepucki
Country Dance by Margiad Evans
A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York Art World by Marcia Tucker
My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff
Among Others by Jo Walton
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
We are all Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
Journey into the Past by Stefan Zweig
I Loved You More by Tom Spanbauer

also I'd like to give honourable mentions to the following:
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
and a couple of authors I discovered and enjoyed this year, which were
Andrew Smith 
Thich Hanh Nhat

Bert's Top Ten Books of 2014
I Loved You More by Tom Spanbauer
Incandescence by Craig Nova
Park Avenue Tramp by Fletcher Flora
Engine Summer by John Crowley
The Death of Sweet Mister by Daniel Woodrell
Young Man with a Horn by Dorothy Baker
In the Beginning was the Sea by Tomas Gonzalez
The Vengeful Virgin by Gil Brewer
The Children of Dynmouth by William Trevor
The First Bad Man by Miranda July
Bert would like to give an honourable mention to Stella Gibbons as an author he discovered and read this year too.

if you want to know more about our thoughts on these books - we are both on good reads.
under our names I think...

Have you read any of these?
what were your favourite books of the year?

If you'd like to know our favourites from previous years.... here they are - 20132012 and 2011


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