A Post A Day Challenge by Sam Granger

Just before 1am. I can’t sleep. My mind won’t switch off because I’m reading a fascinating book right now (Bringing Up Bébé  by Pamela Druckerman, about how the French typically raise children), I’ve had a busy week with family things, my seasonal allergies are annoying my throat, and, apparently, I’m having a lot of ideas. Like blog post ideas. And career ideas. And how-can-we-make-enough-money-to-have-babies-tomorrow ideas (so far I have bank robbery and something involving selling my body and/or spare organs, neither of which really appeal).

I figured I might as well start with one of the blog ideas: post every day for a week. This space doesn’t get the attention it should, especially when I consider the time, effort, and money I put into building it. To be fair, it wasn’t much money, but time and effort were the equivalents of  spending a fafillion dollars. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes. My previous track record for completing blog “challenges” is very poor.

It’s only seven days.

Old makeup by Sam Granger
’80s power makeup.

The above photo was taken yesterday at my grandmother’s house. She moved into a rest home a while ago and now we are preparing her home for rental. She was born in England in 1929 and despite living in New Zealand since the 1950s she has always considered herself absolutely English. Even though her accent is quite Kiwi-ised now. Another thing to note about her is that she is a hoarder. Not in the clinically diagnosed, needs-an-intervention sense, but she’s definitely sentimentally attached to lots of items. They all have rich stories and memories, so she rarely parted with these things – just stuffed them in a drawer or cupboard to stumble over at a later date while looking for something else. She also kept things that “might be useful”, which I think can be attributed to living through a world war, on rations and having to be thrifty.

Back to yesterday, I was sorting through the stuffed-to-bursting linen cupboard with a fafillion sheets (all flat ones, no fitted, which is my idea of hell). Tucked in among pillow cases and the aforementioned sheets I found this makeup palette, á la 1980s. It has powder blue eyeshadow and crème eyeshadow stacks, along with blushers and lipsticks (or “lipstacks”). I shared the photo on my Instagram and then one of my sister’s commented to say she thinks it was her’s when she was young! Imagine that! A preserved beauty item from your youth hiding in your Nan’s linen cupboard. This is one of the reasons she’s such a great grandma to have. Her quirks are so adorable. Most of the time anyway. The stuffing of tissue-wrapped biscuits into her handbag and forgetting about them until her bag is a cookie graveyard/ant banquet is slightly less charming.

But we wouldn’t have her any other way.

Black rose by Sam Granger
Blackish roses.

Later the same day.  The above photo is of some amazing roses that my sister and I saw at the mall today. How beautiful are they?! I wanted to bring them all home, but pricey. I will subtly hint about them to the boyfriend, I think. Our anniversary is coming up.

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Bullet Journal: Expenses & Dailies

Bullet Journal Plan With Me: Expenses and Dailies by Sam Granger

New video time! Back to a bit of bullet journal plan-with-me goodness this week, with a look at expense tracking and some dailies. I also tried out some new pens, the Whitcoulls Fineliners. I’m impressed with how they don’t bleed through the paper of my Leuchtturm. I also like the thickness compared to my Pilot G-Tec-C 0.4, which is very fine. The chunkier black text is pleasing to my eyes, at the moment.

Anyway, enjoy!

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Colour With Me #1

Hi guys! I decided to make a colouring video. A few weeks ago I felt super-relaxed while watching a sped-up video of myself colouring in my bullet journal. My boyfriend suggested I make a video of colouring, which sounded fun, so here we are. I had no idea colouring videos are a thing, but they are! Kind of not surprising given how popular adult colouring has become, though.

Anyway, I wanted it to be quite relaxing, so there’s no talking, just some nice classical music. You can always mute the video and play your own music, if you like. I hope that you can find it calming! From my own struggles with stress management and anxiety, I know how important it is to take time to care for your mind.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do differently to make any future colouring videos more relaxing for you.
– Draw Your Way To A Younger Brain – Dogs: An art therapy book by Anastasia Catris
– Faber-Castell coloured pencils
– Whitcoulls Fineliner pen

Have a great weekend!

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Bullet Journal June Setup

Bullet Journal June Setup by Sam Granger

I have a new bullet journal video up, this time showing you how I set up my monthly log, tasks, goals, review and timelog pages. This is pretty much what I do every month and I love the system.

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May Book Club

Book Club by Sam Granger

It’s the first of June, which means it’s time for me to reflect on what I read throughout May, and roughly plan out what I want to read this month. Something I’ve learned from doing these book club posts this year is that I can only ever have a sort-of plan for what I want to read in the following month. I usually pick books based on what I feel like reading at the time, or for a particular purpose, like learning about something new. Since April, I’ve been reading Jane Austen books for a local book club, and so far they are the only ones I plan to read and actually do end up reading! So, there you go. I’m a feeler-reader (that’s a thing; I just made it up).

That being said, I actually have read all of the books I set out to read in May. SHOCKER. I should, however, be totally honest: this happened because I wrote my April Book Club post halfway through May and had already read, or begun, a number of books on my to-read-in-May list. So, if you ever want to look dedicated, disciplined and organised, do that.

Time for the disclaimer: Due to the nature of this type of post, there may be some spoilers in my reviews, so read on with caution. Generally, I will give a brief overview of what the book is like (much like a back cover would), but I won’t give away major plot points and such. I will always warn you if I ever do, though!

What I read in May

The Mothers by Jennifer GilmoreMay Book Club: The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore

The book is written in the first person and tells the story of Jesse and Ramon’s journey to parenthood. After years of trying to have a biological child, they turn to domestic adoption, which is a pretty complicated process and quite emotionally exhausting too. There is a lot of waiting, a lot of not-being-chosen and some really shitty prospective biological mothers. Throughout the book, you are constantly reminded of Jesse’s yearning to be a mother, of her disappointment at not being a biological mother, of her desperation. I can’t imagine how traumatic it must be to not be able to have a biological child, but Jesse is very angry with the world and takes it out on her husband, her parents, her sister, her friends. It was a bit much, at times, to keep reading. She was very self-pitying and just totally consumed by wanting motherhood, and by understanding motherhood, that she seemed to forget that she’s not the only person who wants a child and can’t have one.


Not That Kind of Girl by Lena DunhamMay Book Club: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Oh, this is a controversial one! I’ve read positive and negative reviews and wasn’t sure what my opinion would be. Overall, I enjoyed the book. I like Lena Dunham’s writing style and her sense of humour is similar to mine, so I “got” it. I can relate to her as a child a lot. I had anxiety about a lot of things growing up, from as far back as I can remember, and it got to the point where it would interrupt my life at times. It can be really scary and confusing having to deal with that when you’re little. She had quite a different upbringing than mine – many would argue that she grew up very privileged. Which is code for white, in a well-off family with plenty of resources for therapists, private schools, and lots of connections. But, just because that’s her life, doesn’t mean she’s exempt from mental health issues, bad relationships, parental disagreements, sexual trauma, and pain. It also doesn’t mean that she isn’t allowed to feel like shit sometimes because of those situations. We all are. Money and connections don’t automatically mean someone will be happy and struggle-free and therefore cannot acknowledge when they aren’t.

What I liked the most is that she’s weird. Definitely not the absolute average, normal person with average, normal thoughts and feelings, that probably err on the side of a bit conservative and blah. She was a weird kid and her parents supported that. She’s still weird and she owns it, embraces it, and does her best to love herself. Whether or not someone is “weird”, all we can really do is embrace who we are and own it.


May Book Club: Trick of Treat by Lisa MortonTrick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa Morton

I’ve always loved Halloween and been so sad that New Zealand doesn’t celebrate it. Which is really weird because I learned from this book that Halloween originated very much within the British Isles and Ireland, and given that New Zealand was colonised by those people I would have expected slightly more involvement. But no. Those who colonised North America seemed to be far more interested in retaining the old celebrations, which eventually lead to what most of us know as Halloween today: October 31, autumn, trick of treat, costumes and candy.

This was an interesting read that went as far back in history as possible and detailed the evolution of Halloween. At times, though, I found the writing style to be a bit textbook-like and boring, but the information was interesting to me so it made up for it. There’s also a lot of fantastic illustrations and imagery throughout the book. This is the first Halloween history book I’ve read, so I’m not sure how accurate the content is, but it does appear to be well-researched and contains references.


May Book Club: Mansfield Park by Jane AustenMansfield Park by Jane Austen

I don’t like this book. I’m not completely finished but I have read it before, so it’s ok. Seriously, though, one of the main characters, Fanny (basically the main character but it’s not written in the first person and the narrator does delve a bit into other characters, independently of Fanny), is the most insipid thing! I don’t hate her, but I do find her irritating. I think it’s because she was taken from her birth family at 9 and shipped off to her aunt and uncle, but never made to feel totally part of the family. She’s always been “just the ward” to most people in the family and therefore has never had the opportunity to assert herself as being worthy of…pretty much anything. Plus she’s probably just naturally shy and the type of person who likes to follow rules exactly. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but my God, it’s hard to read about it.

Aside from my dislike of pretty much all the characters, I find the story overall to be quite boring, even though a fair amount happens. I feel like it moved very slowly and isn’t particularly funny. It’s just full of really irritating people, especially Mrs. Norris. Not Austen’s best work.


What I want to read in June

June Book Club: Emma by Jane AustenEmma by Jane Austen

After Pride and Prejudice, Emma is my next favourite Austen story. I can’t remember if I’ve ever read the novel, but I do own the Gwenyth Paltrow film on DVD, so there you go.

June Book Club: Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen FieldingBridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding

I actually started reading this some months ago but other books got in the way, so I’m going to finish this off in June.

June Book Club: Rising Strong by Brene BrownRising Strong by Brené Brown

One I’ve been meaning to read for ages, and one I could probably really do with reading right now!


Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

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