Friday, 28 August 2015

My Dearest Ollivander

One day when my nephew is older he will say ‘Auntie Tonks, what did you do for fun before you were old (by which he means 30)?’ I will tell him this: 

Ollivander, when I was younger my favourite thing to do on Friday night was to meet you and your Mum at Costco for pizza. Perhaps to some not the most glamourous of evenings – but those people just haven’t had Costco’s amazeballs cheese pizza with FIVE TYPES OF CHEESE and free cola refills and then a chocolate ice cream in a crunchy, crunchy cone – also, as a side note, the reason why the world is full of fat people (TOTES WORTH IT). And maybe the prospect of FIVE TYPES OF CHEESE and free cola refills will still not entice people (they are rubbish) to my ideal Friday night. 

These people probably do not have a great BFF to hang out with, or a beautiful baby boy whose face lights up in a grin of recognition when he sees his Auntie Tonks. To sit down with your mum and discuss the week’s events and things on TV and great books and people who are stupid while avoiding your filthy, food covered hands and making sure you understand that AUNTIE DOESN'T SHARE FOOD BECAUSE IT’S ICKYPANTS AND UNSANITARY is one of the greatest things in the world. 

Even better are all the Costco cafeteria games we have played. Whether it was galloping around the tables in Auntie’s arms, practising our walking while you held my hand, or once you found your feet when I chased you around the tables, or pushed the trolley and made VROOM VROOM VROOM noises. I am proud to say that I taught you how to reverse and the appropriate BEEP BEEP BEEP noises to make before we proceed (you now use them in all situations requiring reversing and I love having such influence over you). 

Your proud little grin will always make my day. Even when I so sad I just wanted to sit down and cry, or the whole world just felt so insurmountably horrible, you always made it better. A laugh, a hug, an air-blown kiss and your adorable face of excited wonderment were all I needed to make my day magic and provide memories I will cherish forever. Knowing that I have even the smallest amount of influence in making you happy, feel loved and special, safe and valued and help you explore the world fills me with hope for the future and allows me to find the magic and wonder in the world again too. 

I can only hope that I can, in any small way, return that favour. 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Thoughts About Stuff and Sudden Reappearances

Hello folks, in the many months since I quit blogging I've had a lot of thoughts. To be frank, I've been having far too many thoughts for the past 26 years, most especially when I'm supposed to be sleeping. But sometimes thoughts are fun. When you're showering - love myself some shower thoughts - DON'T BE RUDE - and because it's sure as hell a LOT more fun than doing the dishes. 
So my thoughts are these: and my friends will be VERY familiar (and probably very sick of hearing) these thoughts: What am I doing with my life? What is to be my life purpose? Am I living life wrong? 
These are not necessarily intended to be deep, philosophical questions. Let's face it, with my depression and anxiety, life often just feels too intense and exhausting for bothering and I can struggle to not be asleep on the couch by 8pm. By 10am Monday morning I'm already counting down to the weekend, not for all the exciting things I'm going to do, but so I am free to sleep all day and cuddle with cats in bed. Don't get me wrong: SLEEP IS GREAT AND I LOVE IT, but you get a picture of why I'm always wondering where my life went.
So amongst my thoughts of murderous raptors, a land made of cupcakes and a large isolated English cottage filled with cats I had a thought of a different kind:
In order to feel like I DO accomplish things with my life and to get my thoughts out of my head, I should make an electronic Penseive. Maybe someone will want to invade the privacy of the Penseive and inappropriately dive in. Maybe it will help to EXPECTO PATRONUM some of the Dementors. Maybe it will inspire a love of cupcakes, cats and colourful polka dots. Maybe, like so many other things I will abandon it after a week. Maybe it will be a chance to bond with strangers over the internet about thoughts.

In the words of my Spirit Animal, Miranda Hart: Such fun and on with the show. 

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Anniversaries and Announcements

Hi everyone. Today is the 3rd blogiversary of polka dots and whimsy. *Imagine a sad picture of me alone in the flat throwing confetti and popping party poppers in the dark* 

I've been determined for most of the year to get to the three year mark and it's very exciting to be finally here. Also very sad, because along with the anniversary comes the announcement: I am retiring from the life of a book reviewer. 

It has been an exciting adventure, full of terrifying socialising with strangers and fun and whimsy and reading lots of lots of books. I thank everyone for their part in this adventure, and I may even become so desolate and lonely that I come back every now and then to make sure that you haven't forgotten about the cupcakes and the polka dots. 

Goodnight, good luck and have your sonic screwdrivers at the ready!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Mini Review: The Christmas Wedding Ring by Susan Mallery

My Rating:1 Star2 Star3 Starhalf Star

In her youth, Molly Anderson couldn't help crushing on gorgeous bad-boy Dylan Black—even though he only had eyes for her older sister. When things didn't work out between them, he said goodbye to Molly as well, vowing they'd have a great adventure when she grew up. Years later, dumped by her fiancĂ© just before Christmas, she's finally ready to take Dylan up on his promise.

A guarded Dylan always had a weakness for Molly, and when she waltzes back into his life—grown-up and gorgeous—he's stunned. So why not whisk her away for some no-strings-attached fun?

Laughter-filled days and late-night kisses are changing Molly's life, for good. The only gift she truly wants now is Dylan's love, but when he discovers the secret she's been keeping, she may lose him again—this time forever. From GoodReads.

Molly Anderson has had the worst week of her life:
On Monday she got fired.
On Tuesday her fiancĂ© rang her call collect from Mexico to say he’d run off with his secretary.
On Wednesday she found a lump in her breast.

Desperate to get away, she remembers a promise her sisters ex-boyfriend made to a 14 year old Molly to come find him when she needed to escape. Enter Dylan: reformed bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks that now owns a successful motorcycle design company with his own reasons to escape. When an all grown up Molly and the boy she was infatuated reconnect and go on a getaway for two, romance is definitely in the air.

The Christmas Wedding Ring is exactly the kind of Christmas book I was looking for. It’s fun; with some great dialogue between the two leads and despite some more serious, emotional patches it’s a sweet story and perfect for curling up and reading in one sitting. I really enjoyed the two characters getting to know each other as adults, they had some great conversation where the banter was actually funny and the conversation always flowed really well. While Molly’s insecurities and withdrawal was used a little too much for my level of angst, Dylan was always there to be dreamy and rescue her from herself.

For anyone that has ever dreamed of running away with the bad boy on the back of his motorbike, or anyone wanting a sweet romance to cheer up their Christmas spirit, this is definitely a great choice.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Quote of the Week (96) The Ultimate Bedroom

The Doctor: Mum's bedroom. Grown-up. Your basic boring. Lily and Cyril's room. I'm going to be honest--masterpiece! The ultimate bedroom. Sciency wiency workbench, a jungle, a maze, a window disguised as a mirror, a mirror disguised as a window, a selection of torches for midnight feasts and secret reading, zen garden, mysterious cupboard zone of tranquility, rubber wall, dream tank, exact model of the rest of the house--not quite to scale, apologizes--dolls with comical expressions .The Magna Carta, a football, Cluedo!, a yellow ball.
Cyril Arwell: Where are the beds?
The Doctor: Well, I couldn't fit everything in. There had to be sacrifices. Anyway, who needs beds when you've got... hammocks! I know.

The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe

Friday, 19 December 2014

Mini Reviews: The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan

My Rating:1 Star2 Star

There is more than one surprise in store for sweetshop owner Rosie Hopkins this Christmas... 

Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year - especially as the little sweetshop in Lipton she owns and runs continues to thrive. She's also enjoying helping out her best friend, Tina, as she prepares for her big wedding to local lad Jake. But fate is about to strike Rosie and her own fiance, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening all they hold dear. And it is going to take all their strength, as well as the loving support of their families and their friends, to hold everything together. From GoodReads

I’m almost guaranteed to love a Jenny Colgan novel and especially the Rosie Hopkins stories because they’re set in an English countryside village that snows at Christmas and there’s hot chocolate and everything is wonderful. For that reason alone, aside from the fact that I love these characters the best, I was looking forward to this novel.

To me, this novel felt extremely forced and predictable. I knew Rosie was pregnant before she was, I knew what would happen when they visited the African village and I knew what the real ‘Christmas surprise’ reveal was going to be. I don’t mind knowing where the lovely happy ending is going and that everything is going to turn out to be fantastically alright by the end, but this novel just felt entirely too formulaic to be fun. It also lacked the trademark charm of Colgan’s writing – the love interests were fighting about some pretty serious issues, the surrounding townspeople lacked a lot of the humour and loveableness that attracted me to them and Lilian – the real gem of the novels – felt like an afterthought or a cameo appearance.

There was a lot of serious drama to wade through in The Christmas Surprise from heavy financial burdens to serious medical problems and deep family rifts. It felt to me that in trying to work out all these very serious issues, the book didn’t have time to get around to the fun and the magic of Christmas. Considering that Colgan’s was one of the first Christmas books I read, and something that got my heavily into the genre, this novel felt like a disappointment.
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