Category: Travel


Hello! It’s been awhile since I did a Sunday Salon. I’ve missed it, but life has really gotten in the way.

This weekend has been hotter than the standard here. I love that it’s sunny and bright out, but I like to be in the shade or indoors in this kind of weather. It’s relaxing so I like to read! I read one book yesterday and anticipate more day.

I officially started my job this past Monday. The job is the same one I’ve been doing for a year now, but I was made an employee. This is good for me since I now have some financial security and benefits to boot! Working full-time on this project has been tiring though and does not leave a lot of room for me to keep all my hobbies.

It’ll be easier if I just do a quick run down on things:

Books: I hope to read one more book today and start another. I really have not been reading much this year, but hopefully I can catch up this summer to complete my humble 52 books goal this year. I just have too much other stuff going on in my life.

TV: Was off for a couple days for Canada Day and spent that time and this past week watching: “Sense8,” “New Amsterdam,” “Humans,” “Unreal”, and “The Borgias”. I recommend them all in various ways. Two are airing now.

Movies: I went to see Magic Mike XXL in a cinema VIP lounge experience. As someone who no longer really goes to the cinema, I loved the comfortable and bigger seating. So much so that it makes me think I’ll do it again this year. Movie was really fun as well.

Food: I usually bake at least once or every other week, but I didn’t this past week due to the weather. Made a really nice Orange Ricotta loaf the other week though. I haven’t baked bread in over a month. I made a really good black bean and quinoa salad for lunch last week. Now I’m a bit stumped on what I will eat this week for lunch.

Fitness: I’m not running 🙁 A couple weeks after I completed my half-marathon in May, I noticed some pain in my inner calf. I think it’s a minor stress fracture. I’m going to go to physiotherapy soon to check it out. I have a 10K in early September that I still hope to run. In the meantime, I am trying to ride my bike and I’ve been doing some yoga.

Knitting: Finally finished those socks I started in September. No photos yet. I am really not knitting anymore.

Travel: Maybe heading down to the USA for a couple days in August. I am also planning a holiday back to the UK in the autumn. Hope to get that finalized soon. I can’t wait to travel abroad again!

Real Life: Work has complicated things and I had some issues with my neighour the last two months. I really hope things will be calmer now. My friends and family are still very important so I am prioritizing them more in the warm months.

Whew! I think that should be a long enough update. I will continue to blog about my books. To those of you still reading this blog, thank you!

Have a happy week!

Filofax- Personal Malden in Vintage Pink

After many weeks of lusting, searching and obsessively reading Philofaxy and other FF blogs, I have finally bought my first Filofax: Personal Malden in Vintage Pink.

I have had a planner every year since I was 12 except in 2012. I realized when I did not have it, how much I missed one so I bought a 2013 Mead planner to hold me over. In the last couple of months, I’ve been thinking it’s time to invest in a serious planner.

This is the first post in my new Stationery category. I love pens, fountain pens, and stationary. I will be sharing my love of paper and pen in the blog from now on. I am traditionalist really and I actually think more people should at least have a good pen or two.

This was not my preferred colour. I would have preferred the Ochre, Purple or the Crimson. Of course, all of these are very popular and even looking for a Personal Malden took me through six New York stationary stores. Scroll down for my short review of the stockists.

In the beginning, I considered a Personal Finsbury, but the more I read about the Malden, the more I wanted one since it seems so well loved by the FF community. Some others have recently mentioned a hardness to their Maldens, but mine thankfully did not have this issue or any ring issues. When I opened it up and checked the rings at the store, it laid flat and snapped up well. Wonderful. I think my model was made in 2011 because it came with a 2012 diary, and the A. I. Friedman people had put in a 2013 one as well. I’ve started using the 2012 refill as scrap note paper.

Continue reading →

Today, I am listening to the audiobook for Charlaine Harris’s Club Dead and reading some Casino Royale. I think I’ve given up A Christmas Carol; I’m going to pick it up in July or something.

These streets in the 7th.

Last weekend, I was actually reading in Paris, France. I had brought one book with me and that is my copy of Adam Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon which is one of my favourite collection of personal essays and books about Paris. It’s very funny and pleasing to read about the places he writes about such as the Jardin du Luxembourg, Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots, Musée d’Orsay, and others and actually go there later in the day. Reading while on a voyage is not uncommon to me or any other bibliophile, but I think it was the first time that I had read so much of the place I was actually in. Since the book was written ten years ago, I noticed a lot of changes. I have read a lot of travelogues and travel nonfiction, but I do not travel to these places all that much so it was refreshing to read and contemplate the changes presented while noticing what was very true. I have actually yet to read anything very London since getting here since I acquire and read fiction here.

Speaking of which, I acquired a few books this week by chance, mostly ones that have gone on Bookmooch. I am pleased to say that in the pile was Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander which I had listened to audiobook last spring and enjoyed so I’m glad to own a copy as well as the next book in the series Dragonfly in Amber. This works out perfectly since I own the next two books Voyager and Drums of Autumn which are back in Canada. I have enough books on small tiny shelf here in London and my limited free time that I shouldn’t get more book nor think I’ll actually get through them all before the end of 2009.

On a final note, I usually leave these things in the Literary Links, but I have to plug The Guardian’s 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read. I have penchants for book lists and this is one I can get behind whether you agree with the selections or not. Here is the definitive list and you can search if your favourites are there, or browse through the novels by category/genre.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Literary Links:

ZenHabits has a How to Instill Love of Reading for Your Child or Yourself

I think I linked this before, but it’s a good list: ZenHabits’s 50 Amazing and Essential Novels to Enrich Your Library – A directory of web 2.0 book sites.

15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else

A memoir of looking for pleasure, devotional and the balance of the two in Italy, India, and Indonesia. I first started reading last spring/summer, but then I had to return it to the library. It was already a bestseller, but it’s only gotten more popular (as it was featured in Oprah) since then. Some people have been critical of the book for being self-absorbed. I’ve read a lot of travel books and memoirs, and they are all personal in one way or another. Travel is one of the ultimate self-confrontational and education experiences in life. Writing a memoir means evaluation of self, ideas, etc. I can understand why this book probably rubs some people the wrong way. Elizabeth Gilbert can be rather melodramatic writer. Yes, it can be amusing, but sometimes, the writing is seems affected and hammy especially in early chapters. Everything is pointed out, but not in an observant or subtle way. It got a lot better as the book progressed and she traveled more. As she seemed to learn more about life, spirituality, and other people, the book became a fun and enjoyable read. Partly because the author and I share similar interests in spirituality, and there are few things she tried in the book that I have been pondering myself. The book is not the best or most educational travel memoir book, and it’s very personal. Overall, it was a good read, but I understand why the narrative would not be everyone’s cup of tea.

This was suppose to be read for the In Their Shoes memoirs/bio challenges, but I got it from the library early and couldn’t put if off til 2008. Besides, it’s more coffee table book than memoirs as it is full of pictures. I love Tony Bourdain since I read A Cook’s Tour years ago. This is a sortof companion book to his cable travel-cum-food show just as ACT was, but more on the photos though he does write some insightful things. He has a dream job of mine. He gets paid to write, cook, and travel. Bourdain writes in the book that the show and the photos give a taste and a view of the places. They never claim to show “the best of”, “the real” or “the comprehensive guide to” any destinations. I like that, and travelling and travel photography is often just that. The photos were taken by the crew of NR, and many are documentary style as a result. Quite a few photos seemed to have been taken by a camera phone. It isn’t just photos of course. Bourdain’s writing is genuine, sometimes crass, blunt, and as always, funny. There is commentary on the places he and the show have visited including the well documented time the crew were stuck in Beirut during the July 2006 Lebanon and Israel conflict. There are aso small sections on drinking, washrooms, chefs, places to eat (not a big resource, but solid nonetheless), hazards, tips, and equipment for the adventurous traveler. Enjoyable, quick read with some good travel insights and tips.