It’s time to roundup your Procrasti-buddies

I am the Queen of Procrastination.

I know a lot of people may say something along these lines, but you have to believe me when I tell you that, right after sleeping, procrastination is my special skill. I have a To Do list in my diary with items that have been carried over every week since February. In the time it’s taken to write this far, I’ve checked facebook three times, price-checked and purchased a number of items off ebay to use in an upcoming instagram post, checked my emails, checked my work emails, hunted for a new blog template, watched a video of Dame Judi Dench rapping, contacted a couple of business opportunities, ranted to a colleague about the expense of attending ‘high arts’, checked my emails again, drooled over this beauty which is all my nerdy soul needs and renewed my renters insurance.

And writing blog posts is something that I actually like do to.

My procrasti-buddies range from the standard (scrolling instagram) to the ridiculous (dead-heading my indoor plants). I’ve also been known to scrub the kitchen floor, sort out my bathroom drawers or *gasp* make my bed -all in an effort to avoid doing the one thing I wanted to achieve that day. Sometimes my procrasti-buddies are great (let’s be honest, they’re the only reason anything in my house gets cleaned), but sometimes they can be the reason that I’ve had this draft open for the last six hours and I’m precisely two paragraphs deep. When the deadline is finally actually looming and I can’t put it off any more, here’s how I finally round up the procrasti-buddies

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1. Shut it down

Everything. Shut everything down. Close your tabs, hide your phone, do whatever you have to do to keep those distractions out of sight. I use a Pomodoro extension on my browser that actually blocks access to any websites I’ve flagged as a distraction, and I have a similar aid on my phone, in case I feel tempted to pull it out from it’s burial ground underneath the mattress.

2. Suck it up

I was going to have more points, but this is basically what it comes down to.

You don’t want to do the thing. I don’t want to do the thing. My cat is more than happy for me not to do the thing if it means that I’ll come and pat her. The dishes would rather I didn’t do the thing, because they’re just staring at me from the kitchen. But when the deadline is looming, it’s time to do the thing.

Pull the plug, take a deep breath, and suck it up. Just start. If you’re anything like me, in the time you’ve been putting off doing the thing, you could have done it a dozen times. In the two days I’ve spent trying to write this post, I could have written articles for the next fortnight. In the four minutes since I’ve said goodbye to my sister on Facebook and blocked the site from my browser, I’ve achieved more in the six hours I fussed around yesterday.

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You want to get sh*t done? Shut it down & suck it up. Round up those procrasti-buddies, set your timer, hit the Rocky theme song, and smash it out.

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It’s time to roundup your Procrasti-buddies

Why I’m breaking up with my laundry detergent

Disclaimer: I was sent That Red House Soapberries to try in exchange for my honest and genuine review. This post was not sponsored in any other way.

It’s time for Science Hour on Ferdydurking Blog!

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Meet Soapberries, the dried shell of fruit of the Sapindus Mukorossi tree. These shells are a very dense source of ‘saponin’ aka nature’s soap. Saponin reduces the surface tension of water, allowing dirt to be easily washed away in the same fashion as your normal household washing liquids.

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Odd looking fellows, aren’t they?

Apparently soapberries are a natural alternative to traditional laundry detergent and fabric softener. They are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, hypo-allergenic, chemical free, grey water safe, organic, compostable, and 100% sustainable *wipes sweat from brow*

Full disclosure, I was very suspicious about anything with a list of benefits that long, and I was ready and waiting to be proven correct.  Why would anyone use a standard laundry detergent when these bad boys are available? But I have seen soapberries pop up now and again on the plastic-free instagrams, so when That Red House slid into my DMs and asked if I would be interested in trying them out, I was game to give them a go.

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Straight out of the post, I was pretty impressed with the packaging. Everything is very clearly explained on the bag, and I can definitely find a dozen ways to reuse it when the berries are gone (it’s a really lovely fabric). When I picked up the bag and felt it crinkle in my hand, I braced myself to have a discussion on plastic packaging around eco-products. But check this out-

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A paper bag! And how pretty does it look?

That Red House, I’m sorry I ever doubted you. Of course you wouldn’t hide some plastic behind that nice eco-friendly bag.

 

According to the instructions, you put a handful of the dried berries into the included smaller bag, tie it off, and forget about it (no need to take it out before the rinse cycle).

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The berries smell a little odd but it’s not offensive. They seem harmless, but I was still dubious. You want me to what with these? Without adding any real detergent? Are you sure this is going to work?

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Colour me sideways guys, but they actually do work.

I’ve done a fair few loads of washing and the level of clean is exactly the same as I would have expected from washing powder. After some intense close-quarters sniffing of my clean laundry, I can also confirm that the odd smell doesn’t transfer. In fact, the strangest thing about washing with soapberries is that there isn’t really a smell at all – I didn’t realise how accustomed I was to scented laundry until the scent wasn’t there.

If you do like your clothing to smell like something more than just clean, you can apparently add a few drops of essential oils to the berries (which you can also grab through their website).

Lack of laundry fragrance aside, I wouldn’t be able to pick the difference between soapberries and a standard detergent in a blind test. Each handful of berries can be used for around five washes (I’ve just been leaving the lid on my washing machine up after the load to let them dry out), and once they’re used up you can throw them on the compost. According to the gang at That Red House, if you buy a 1kg bag of the berries, you’re paying approx 10c a wash (1/3 the price-per-wash of a commercial detergent), so on top of saving the world, you’re also slashing those laundry costs!

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Apparently the berries can also be boiled down for other uses- a good friend of mine is allergic to a lot of shampoos, so I’m going to pass some on to her to experiment with.

In conclusion? I’m a convert– I honestly think I’ll be using these forever now. In fact, it blows my mind that they’re not more widely available. Too many jaded old cynics like me in the world?

Have you tried using soapberries before? Would you consider it? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Why I’m breaking up with my laundry detergent

August Reading Roundup

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Year of the King – Anthony Sher

I purchased Year of the King off the back of a Shakespeare buzz after seeing an incredible couple of performances by Bell Shakespeare, one of which was Richard III, the subject of this book. Anthony Sher played the role to much acclaim in RSC’s Richard III in 1984, and recorded his journey from rumours that he would get to play the role, through rehearsals, previews and their opening night. Along the way he returns to his homeland of South Africa during apartheid, and tries to untangle how to play a role that has been dominated by the masters of Shakespeare. There are also a variety of his sketchers scattered throughout the book, which provide a fascinating insight into his research and attempts to uncover the character of Richard, particularly to someone who hasn’t progressed beyond stick figures.

For some reason Year of the King took a few stops and starts for me to finish, but it is an enjoyable read. Anthony can sometimes come off as a bit of an ass, and there were sections of his writing where I wanted to reach back in time and give him a good shake. Everything is written very much as if he, and only he, knows how the play should go- I imagine the rehearsals would have been a little bit tense. Still it’s fascinating to follow his journey, feeling the tension as the rumours of his playing the role start to spread, and the pressure of stepping up to such an iconic role. Definitely an interesting read for any acting or Shakespeare buffs!

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Book of Joan – Lidia Yuknavitch

August’s bookclub book was so hot off the press that I had to order a physical copy – shock horror! Good thing it’s a wonderful fabric-bound hardcover, because they always have a place on my bookshelf.

I haven’t read anything else by Lidia Yuknavitch, so I entered into The Book of Joan completely blind. The blurb reads like a sci-fi/post-apocalyptic novel, two genres that I never have any difficulty indulging in- however I have to say that if I hadn’t had the luxury of ploughing through this in one session, I think I may have struggled. While it definitely does have a strong sci-fi/post-apocalypic backdrop, the writing was challenging for me, and at times I found it needlessly crass. Still, the world is fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but this is a book that I really feel would almost work better on the screen. Have you read The Book of Joan yet, or anything else by the author? I would love to know what you think!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And other concerns) – Mindy Kaling

Talking As Fast As I Can – Lauren Graham

Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick

Yes, this months roundup is a little ridiculous compared to the last couple. I was lucky enough to pop home to NZ for a long weekend and this is what happens under those circumstances- five books in 48 hours! I grouped these three books together mostly because I’m being lazy, but also because they are very similar. Mindy Kaling’s first book has been sitting on my shelf for a while, so I grabbed it for an easy plane read. If you’re familiar with her work, you’ll find Mindy’s writing easy to sink into -she’s just as affable and odd on the page as she is in any other medium. In fact, all three of these women write in a very comparable style- probably the reason I was able to binge all of them in the space of 24 hours. Like most celebrity autobiographies, they’re in a loosely chronological order, almost painfully casual (Lauren Graham’s feels like a ongoing email to a friend that she just sort of keeps picking up from time to time), and full of the inside goss and little feelgoods that prove that they’re just real people after all.

I’m not going to lie, at times I found smashing through these three books a little depressing (I’m looking at you, Miss Anna on-Broadway-at-16-and-can-eat-whatever-you-want-Kendrick) because it’s a life that seems borderline utterly unattainable if you’re not born in the cradle of LA showbiz. Still, they were perfect airplane fodder, and like a dodgy regency romance, I’ll probably find myself going to back to them eventually. Thanks ladies!

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The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir – Dee Williams

I’ve read The Big Tiny before, but trapped in a metal tube over the Tasman Sea seemed like the perfect time to read it again. There’s probably a certain sort of person (ie. me) that is attracted to everything to do with tiny houses, and Dee Williams has captured all the beautiful moments and trials that come with building and inhabiting a space the size of a carpark. Written as Williams comes to grips with a dire medical diagnosis, The Big Tiny is fearless, candid, and frequently hilarious. Even if you don’t fancy the idea of living in a space where your toilet is composting and elbow room is optional, it’s a wonderful option for a cozy afternoon read.


What have you been reading this month? Comment below to share your favourite, I’m always looking for recommendations!

You can check out some of my earlier Reading Roundups here:

If you want to see more of me, you can check out my Instagram & Twitter, I would love to see you there!

August Reading Roundup

Mid-Year Goals Review!

So I actually had planned to write this post for the middle day of the year (July 2nd, if you were wondering), but then I went to Tasmania for a bit, the blog went on hiatus, and life sort of got in the way. BUT since tracking goals is such a great way of achieving them, I guess there’s no time like the present to see how I’ve been tracking.

This year I used the highly complicated system of two post-it notes in the back of my diary to plan out what I wanted to achieve from the months ahead- one for personal goals, and one for career goals. While such high-tech tracking may not be for everyone, I’ve really enjoyed being able to flick to the back of my diary and see how I’m going. There was no huge amount of thought put into the goals, I just jotted down a few items from the top of my head- they are as follows:

Personal

-$2,500 in stocks, house deposit fund, and emergency savings

-Start a blog and contribute to it regularly

-Get in shape!

-Minimalise my house

-Build an alternative income source

Career

-Jump into opportunities without considering the financials

-New Agent

-30% of income performance base

-Voiceover reel

-At least two new clips for showreel

 

So how am I going?

Personal

-$2,500 in stocks, house deposit fund, and emergency savings While my savings aren’t quite where I would want them to be thanks to a little dental mishap, I’m still hoping to build them close to this target by the end of the year. I currently have $2, 678 in my Acorns account, $1,340 in my house deposit account, and $760 in my Emergency savings. One of the reasons my HD & ES figures are lower than I had originally planned for is that I decided to include another savings project- Travel. While most of that money is going towards flights etc for a wedding in the Coromandel in Dec, and then taking me back to NZ later in the month for my Christmas trip home, I’m happy to sacrifice some of my financial goals to see more of the world before it changes even more (pessimistic? Maybe so). I’ve also put a small amount aside to buy an actual camera to record that traveling, because there’s only so far a phone can take you. If anyone has recommendations, please let me know!

-Start a blog and contribute to it regularly Yay, you’re on it! It took me a while to get Ferdydurking Blog up & going, but apart from one hiatus after my Tassie trip when life got a little away on me, I have been writing regularly and enjoying the chance to get some of my ramblings out into the world. Thanks guys!

Can you blame me for getting distracted?

-Get in shape! I actually wrote a figure down for this goal, but it feels like something a bit too personal to share (I’m well aware that the weight on the scale can have very little to do with how you physically look, so I’m not too concerned about the final number anyway). In 2017 I’ve been moving my focus away from music theatre, and towards getting more screen work. As depressing as it may be, TV works does require- well, a TV body. I’ve spent most of the last eight months faffing around, but have finally knuckled down and am at my slimmest since…probably university? I won’t reach my goal by the end of the year, but I’m hoping to put my best foot forward for that beach wedding in December!

-Minimalise my house Nope, nope, big ol’ nope. I can’t help it, I’m a clutter-bug. I can clean a table and a day later it’s covered in stuff that I didn’t even know I owned. I have shifted so much stuff so far, but there’s still so much to go before I can be really happy with my surroundings. My zero-waste swaps have actually been really great for this, my shower looks pretty sleek and amazing without all of the plastic bottles and miscellany. Now to work that magic on the rest of the house!

-Build an alternative income source This one is still very much a work in progress. At the moment I work 40ish hours a week in a variety of customer service roles, which is starting to become incredibly draining.

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In my dream world, I will need to do a lot less engaging with people. I have started doing some freelance writing, which is something I definitely want to expand on, and I’m looking forward to dipping my toe in voiceover work, which has definitely liberated a few friends of mine.

Career

-Jump into opportunities without considering the financials Working a variety of casual roles has definitely been a help with my acting career, but it also can occasionally be a hindrance. It’s hard to say a whole-hearted Yes to an unpaid opportunity when the back of your brain is quietly calculating how many hours of work you’ll miss out on, and whether you’ll be able to cover rent that week. I’ve worked hard over the past few months to build up my savings enough to cover the odd patch of time off, and I’ve done three shoots recently with only a tiny twinge of guilt over lost income! I wouldn’t say I don’t consider the financials, but I now have the luxury of making them less of a priority.

-New Agent Done! After going through the drama of my old representation disappearing under my feet, the first half of this year was spent trying to find my perfect match. I am now with a new agent, and couldn’t be happier!

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-30% of income performance base Due to the unexpected loss of my agent, this has been a pretty slow year for my acting so far, so I’m a long way off this goal. Acting work is so sporadic that one good gig would be enough to turn this stat around, but at the moment I’m slugging away at a few of my recurring jobs, and making sure that I’m still working towards my goals

-Voiceover reel Voiceover work is something I’ve been looking into for a while – I’ve done a tiny bit of voicework before, and it’s been mentioned a couple of times that I should investigate it further. It’s taken almost eight months, but I’ve finally enrolled in a crash course, and if that goes well I’m still on track to get a demo reel recorded by the end of the year. Here’s to an alternative income stream!

-At least two new clips for showreel Ahhh, the ever present search for new showreel material. I’ve done a couple of projects this year with a very promising script that unfortunately have turned out to be completely unusuable once they leave the edit room. This is unfortunately a goal that I will keep working towards, but I haven’t been able to check off yet.

How is your year going? Have you spent some time reviewing your goals? How do you prefer to record and track your goals? Did you even set any? I would love to know!

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Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, and if you want to see more of me, come say hello on my Instagram or Twitter, I would love to see you there!

Mid-Year Goals Review!

What’s your Zero Waste ‘Free Pass’?

Alright guys, this is an honesty post

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This year I’ve been working really hard to decrease my environmental impact.

You can see some of the changes I’ve been making with my earlier posts 5 Easy Switches to Change the World and  5 MORE Easy Switches to Save the World! (give the girl a naming prize) , and these swaps have made a huge difference to the amount of waste I’m making in my daily life. As warm and fuzzy as this makes me feel, there are still a few regular suspects that I haven’t been able to quite cull from my rubbish. As much as I would like to deny their existence, in the interests of accurately recording my journey to a low-waste life, here they are.

Frozen Berries

I love berries, and possibly even more so, I love how convenient frozen berries are. I fold them through yoghurt, toss them over pancakes, and blitz them into smoothies. Not only are frozen berries crazy cheaper, I don’t have to worry about them turning into little fuzzy piles of mould by the end of the week. If I don’t eat them, they stay frozen! Frozen berries do tend to be more irregular in size, which could mean that I’m saving berries that didn’t make the cut to sell fresh. Or is that just me thinking optimististically?

How I’m dealing with the waste: Rinsing the bag & returning it to the supermarket to be recycled into park furniture

Dental Hygiene

Floss. Toothpaste. Two things I’m just not quite ready to give up -partly because I’ve tasted the Lush Toothy Tabs and they taste doggone-awful. Partly because I don’t 100% trust alternative methods, teeth are a once-on-a-lifetime thing, and dentists in Australia are expensive.

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How I’m dealing with the waste: Not well. The cardboard back of the floss packed gets separated and recycled, the rest goes to landfill

Beauty regime

I know. Trust the wannabee actress to refuse to cull her beauty regime. I do have trouble skin- I don’t experience breakouts,  but it dries easily (as a kid it used to crack & bleed in the really bad patches). I’ve tried replacing some of my products with natural alternatives, but so far nothing has been able to float my boat, either because it doesn’t do a satisfactory job, or it makes my skin unhappy.

How I’m dealing with the waste: I’ve managed to move a lot of my products to brands that are packaged in glass & sold in cardboard. I’m also starting to become a lot more conscious about where my products come from, and what nasties they contain.

Convenience food

I’m using this as a blanket cover for all of those things that I probably could make at home, but don’t. Hummous. Yoghurt. Pasta. Milk (anyone want to give me the space to house a cow?). Griffins gingernuts. (Yes, gingernuts. They’re a non-negotiable in my diet.) A lot of zero-wasters make most of these products at home, but time-poor me has struggled to have any success. While I try to keep as much plastic out of my shopping trolley as possible, it’s highly likely that one of these sneaks in every week.

How I’m dealing with the waste: I try to be as conscious as I can with any of these guys that I purchase. I go for the biggest size I can, and recycle the packaging once it’s gone. While that may sound like a lot, my little recycling bag goes into the apartment rubbish bin about once a month -if you picture a wheelie bin, I reckon I would fill one in about six months? I’m still working to bring my total recyclables down, but I’m happy with this as a starting point.

Ordering online

I love getting mail. Loooooovvveeee it.

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And at the same time, there are a lot of days when I really don’t want to be leaving the house.  Fortunately there is a magical portal that allows me to fulfill all of my needs from home, receive presents from me to me and have access to unlimited nerdery!

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The downside of this wonderful place is that most of those items come tucked into layers of wrapping and plastic. While I can try to reuse as much as I can and take all of the soft plastics to the supermarket for recycling, mailer packages definitely make up the majority of my waste. It ain’t pretty folks.

How I’m dealing with the waste: This is definitely a case of reduce, reuse, recycle. I’ve managed to tamp down on the impulse nerd-purchasing that has historically been my weakness, and while I’m in the process of culling my wardrobe, clothing shopping has been cut right back down as well. If I look at my packages for the last few months, two were from brands that want to work with me on my insta, and one was a glass protein shaker that isn’t available in stores. Probably a low number for some people, but those bright yellow bags in the trash still bug me.

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What are your weaknesses? Do you have some things in your lifestyle that you’ve given yourself a ‘free pass’ on? Let me know!


Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, and if you want to see more of me, come say hello on my Instagram or Twitter, I would love to see you there!

 

What’s your Zero Waste ‘Free Pass’?

June Reading Roundup

Can the year stop whizzing by, please? I refuse to believe that it’s time for my June reading roundup already!

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American Gods:A Novel

I did it, I really really did it!

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I used to eat books like this for breakfast, but I must be getting soft in my old age because I was down to the wire with this beast. I’m going to blame some of my struggle on splitting my attention by re-listening to some of The Expanse again (see below), but this still got very close to embarrassing. Imagine if it was a two-month WIP!

Anyway, on with the book. American Gods is obviously in the air a lot at the moment, thanks to the recently aired TV series. While it’s been on my TBR for a while, the series was actually what prompted me to pick it up, so that I could get it out of the way before my first viewing. Apparently the copy I read is actually an extended version, featuring some content that was cut for the original edition. While this is a hefty book, I didn’t feel like it waffled on too long, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to tell you what they thought belonged on the chopping room floor without researching it further.

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Dress [with] Sense: The Practical Guide to a Conscious Closet

I was given this book for a review that has yet to be published, so I’ll come back to update what I thought of Dress [with] Sense once that’s gone live. In the meantime, let me say that it’s a great beginner into to a more conscious way of living, but the surface-level approach will probably become frustrating to anyone who has already started moving towards a conscious closet.

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Saga Volume 7

Saga! Has anyone else been following this story? I used to read some of my brothers comic books as a kid when he went through a (brief) stage, but I was quickly turned off by the seemingly random bolding of text that never made sense in my head. I’ve been slowly introduced to the world of graphic novels, and Saga is the first one contemporary enough that I have to wait for every new volume to release! I honestly don’t know how dedicated GN readers do it- I’ve found that I’ve had to go back and reread the last few volumes every time to remind myself what’s been happening. I’ve also been scolded for reading them too quickly- I wonder if other avid novel readers have this problem? Regardless, I would heartily recommend Saga if you were looking to give this genre a go. It’s a bit adult in places but the artwork is glorious and you can’t help but invest in the characters and their stories.

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How could you not love this little guy?

 

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse Book 1)
Caliban’s War (The Expanse Book 2)

Abaddon’s Gate (The Expanse Book 3)

These bad boys have been my distraction this month! With Audible credits mounting, I decided to stockpile the rest of the published audiobooks in this series- with my memory, that also necessitated a brush-up on what had happened previously (see my troubles with episodic graphic novels above). Read by Jefferson Mays (who is truly excellent), they stand up well to a repeat listen. Starting as quite an intimate story with a small cast of players, each novel expands the universe further without ever feeling like the story is being milked for more than it’s worth. As with Saga, these are characters that you can’t help but get involved with. If you’re a fan of the TV series Firefly, I highly recommend giving The Expanse a go! I’m almost reluctant to watch the new Netflix series now, because listening to this series is almost like getting to spend more time with my favourite crew in the ‘verse.

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WIP

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Hag-Seed- Margaret Atwood

I have the best bookclub ever. Five friends with hugely different reading tastes, we all take turns choosing books and the results are never anything less than interesting. This one was offered up by one of the lovely ladies behind Page to Plate, and is part of a series of rewritten Shakespeare classics commissioned by Vintage’s Hogarth Shakespeare.

“The world’s favourite playwright. Today’s best-loved novelists. Timeless stories retold.”

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Apparently a retelling of The Tempest transposed to a Canadian Theatre Festival, I have high hopes for The Hag Seed, but I’m reserving judgement. Have you read any of the books in this series? What do you think of the idea?


What have you been reading this month? Comment below to share your favourite, I’m always looking for recommendations!

You can check out some of my earlier Reading Roundups here:

If you want to see more of me, you can check out my Instagram & Twitter, I would love to see you there!

June Reading Roundup