~ You’ll be into this if: you’ve got time to not be able to put a book down ~
I’m embarrassed, ashamed and more than anything, just really disappointed in myself. Why? It hurts to say but before this book, I was an Australian that had never read a Tim Winton book. I know, I want to punch myself in the face too. I’ve never read a book that was so far from the reality of my life yet felt so incredibly relatable, and I put that down to Mr. Wintons (Sir Winton? It feels like it should be) incredible story telling. This book follows the turbulent life of Jaxie Clackton, a young boy brought up in an abusive environment who wants only one thing, to get away from his father. I guess nobody ever told ol’ Jaxie to be careful what he wished for. This is a story of pure survival, and how a little bit of hope and a lot of love can keep you going in the harshest of times. Learn from my mistakes, and read this bloody Tim Winton.
It’s currently day 10 here in the big ol’ Rajasthan desert.. morale is high and aircon is as low as we can get it. So far, India isn’t like any place I’ve ever been or really, anything that I expected it to be – it’s so much more. If you, like the countless people that have asked me, are wondering why on earth I chose this destination then I’m here to tell ya, something in me just knew I had to see this place. I’ll tell you this too, very little – some would say scarily little – planning and/or research went in to this trip. Before you get the wrong idea, this is less to do with me being spontaneous and a whole lot more to do with me being lazy – it really hit me just how little planning we (my travel buddy and myself) did when we were approached three separate times at the airport with the question “are you two traveling to India alone?” followed by “wow, you’re brave”. We had the sense that we had gotten ourselves into something we weren’t entirely prepared for, but we also knew there was no backing out now. If anything was a good indicator of what our trip was going to be like it was the drive from the airport where our driver was an hour late and couldn’t turn the car back on after stopping to buy himself snacks on the way to our hotel. We quickly learned that turning to laughter instead of frustration is the only way. Our few days in Delhi were spent braving the streets (just walking on them, not living), learning how to cross the roads without getting hit by multiple tuk tuks, our first taste of real Indian curry and getting conned into every situation we possibly could. It was awesome. After saying goodbye to our hotels reception – who proceeded to add my friend on WhatsApp and ask her on a date – we met up with our tour group who we would be traveling Rajasthan with for the next 15 days. Just the 6 of us running around the desert looking for strippers and cocaine. JK, just looking for some culture. So far we’ve done some really cool things together – we’ve obvi eaten some incredible food, we’ve ridden camels in the desert, slept under the stars, had amazing conversations with our local tour guide about the cultural differences when it comes to the freedom and treatment of women and we’ve met some truly kind people along the way. There are so many incredible things about India and I’ll tell ya all about them, but what I also hope to do is share some of the realities of traveling here that aren’t exactly glamorous because I think there’s a lack of this out there amongst travel bloggers. So here ya go: I’ve never sweat so much in my life – I’m talking legs, boobs, armpits constantly wet and I only pee once a day because I sweat everything out – men are constantly staring at us and make us feel pretty uncomfortable, 19 hours on a train is about 18 hours too long and squatting on a toilet isn’t easy while the train is in motion (shoes will be pee’d on), getting your period before spending a night sleeping outside in the desert with no toilets is less than ideal (side note, couldn’t recommend a menstrual cup any higher – saved me), riding camels is cool until your butt cheeks start to blister and stray dogs are cute until they chase after you and bite your leg (if I start foaming at the mouth, we know why). India is a country of complete contrast, the wealthiest of the wealthy and the poorest of the poor live right next to each other. Sometimes this country has been exhausting and others, something that can only be described as magic. India is full of moments. Next stop, Udaipur.
~ You NEED to read this if: Ahh, you’re white ~
I know, I know, you are white and you are most certainly not racist. Yeah I know, you reposted a ‘Black Lives Matter’ photo on Facebook. Yep and you have a friend that is umm.. African American. I get it. But you still need to read this book. ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ started as a blog post that went viral as it shone the light on racism in Britain.. something that myself and I’m sure many of you had no friggin’ clue about. I’d honestly never even thought about it, or considered it a very big issue… and that’s the bloody problem. This book provides a whole new understanding to racism and forces each reader to really check themselves and their complicity in the whole darn thing. If you want to live in a world that is kinder, safer and fairer for all people… start with this book.
~ You’ll be into this if: you just might punch the next person who utters the words ‘superfoods’ or ‘detox diet’ straight in the damn face ~
If you know me, you know I totally used to be that person. Freakin’ superfoods, detox drinks, supplements and room temperature lemon water was my jam (not actual jam though, too much sugar). It took me a while to realise these ‘foods’ didn’t actually make me feel any better and if anything, I just felt stressed, confused and really, really hungry. Diet culture has lead us to believe that to be healthy everything needs to be complicated and expensive whereas it’s actually really bloody simple – eat your damn vegetables, carbs are obviously gods gift to man but don’t go crazy and refined sugar is the devil. Duh! Shannon, the author of this incredible cookbook, makes healthy eating seriously simple and also fucking hilarious. As a nurse, Shannon despises fad diets but is also aware of the damage that unhealthy eating can do to your body – the recipes in this book are a middle ground where everything is delicious but you also don’t clog your arteries and die. If you don’t like to cook, Shannon has rated each recipe by how many fucks you’ll need to give to prepare them and if you’re worried about taste, she has also rated them by how nipple erecting each dish will be (the more erect the nipple, the more tasty the meal – I probably didn’t need to explain that?). Shannon isn’t trying to fool anyone, she knows that pasta is fucking awesome but sometimes you’ve just gotta have Zoodles instead because your insides are crying. I love this book because the recipes are bomb, Shannon is real as hell and just as funny and the whole book is completely inappropriate. Food, laughs and swearing – my favourite trio.
~ You’ll be into this if: you relate to any of the following stories~
One time a boyfriend tried to break up with me and I didn’t let him because I didn’t think he had valid enough reasons. I have hacked into an ex’s Facebook and proceeded to read through his messages. I have broken up with a boy at my parents house which was followed by an incredibly awkward weekend because he did.not.leave. My parents are yet to forgive me. I’ve done the drive by, the accidental run in, the drunken message and anything else you think ‘geez that’d be embarrassing’. I tell you these stories not only to ward off any of my future dating prospects but to hopefully make you feel like less of a dating dumby. I’ve learnt that in time as you become more comfortable and happy within yourself, heartbreak still hurts like a bitch but you are able to handle it a little better. Until then, I give you Break Up Boss. Written by Zoe Foster Blake, it’s a game changer. It’s got everything to get you through the initial break up, the week (or more) of trackpants and ice cream and then finally when you’ve got your groove back (which will always happen, I promise). I don’t regret (that much) the mistakes I’ve made in breakups but it sure as hell woulda been handy to have this book by my side. If the relationship is over, why not learn how to breakup like a BOSS?
~ You’ll be into this if: you’ve had or have been close to a breakdown in the beauty aisle because there are just so.many.products and you don’t know what skin type you are and the cashier is looking at you like you’re a big fat dope ~
Sorry, please excuse my obvious real life projection. For a while I was able to coast through life with pretty perfect skin and hair that simply needed to be washed and dried and I was ready for a night on the town (realistically I was like 16, so I was ready to go undie shopping with mum). This pure bliss lasted until I was 20 years old when I had the absolute pleasure of going through puberty for the second time.. jealous yet? With pimples taking over my face like it was nobody’s business, I decided to get woke on skincare. Enter, Amazinger Face by Zoe Foster -‘beauty, boss queen, wish-she’d-marry-me-already’ Blake. This book (bible, whatever you want to call it) gives you the how-to on absolutely everything to do with skincare, makeup, haircare, nails and gets really specific so that pretty much all your questions are answered. Who knew your face stopped at your boobs?! And that you finally have an excuse to sleep on a silk pillow case, not only because you’re a freakin’ queen but because it combats wrinkles! Uh, such a relief. That’s how I would describe this book – relief, because it solves ya worries but also makes you realise that all gals have similar problems to you. You’re not alone in this big beautiful world of beauty, fashun and glaring cashiers.