Preparing for a trip to Martha’s Vineyard, a Library Haul (week 25, 2015) and my obsession with stationery

My brother of fame is visiting us this week. We will be going on a mini-holiday with him to the island of Martha’s Vineyard. As usual, it’s more about preparing for the trip for me. I like to plan, make lists of things I would like to do, see and eat on the trip… and there is one thing you should know about me. I love stationery. Notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, pencil pouches- I love them all. This is the first trip on which I will be using my Midori Traveler’s Notebook or MTN for short. It looks like this.Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Basically, its a piece of beautiful dark brown leather that can house several small notebooks that you can take on your travels with you or use at home. One of the three notebooks I have inside has a long list of things to do in Martha’s Vineyard. Of course there’s a section devoted to the bookshops and public libraries on the island ( typical of me and my priorites in life).

Something else that I am planning are the art supplies that I want to take with me.


Here’s what I am thinking: my mtn, the hobonichi for journaling which I have neglected in the past week, a moleskine sketchbook and a Winsor and Newton pocket paint palette. Oh, and the little orange suitcase is a tiny receptacle for holding paint water!

Something else that I am currently obsessed with is my summery watermelon pouch, immortalized forever in my art journal.


I am planning to take Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence with me. I am reading a chapter a month throughout this year and have April, May and June to catch up with. It’s the perfect book to take on travels.

Here is the library haul for this week.


Sometimes books on my ‘to be read ‘ list are very much pre-meditated. Sometimes, though, visiting the ‘New in Fiction’ book shelf at the library can be a very dangerous place for me. Especially if the blurb on the back seems interesting, and the front cover is appealing- you will find the book quickly disappearing into my library book bag. The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera- had me in two seconds. Briefly the book is about Prudence Prim, a young woman who accepts a position as a librarian in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois and quite unexpectedly finds love. A young woman, a rural foreign setting, mentions of tea, cake and libraries – it was all more than I could resist. Can’t wait to start this book.

I have been on the waiting list to read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo since the beginning of this year. I was requester number 556 on the long list and this week my luck changed and it was my turn to take the book home. I’m not really in the mood for spring cleaning at the moment but I will give the book a quick lookover, given the great popularity that surrounds it at the moment.

Inspector Lewis is a great detective series that I thought we could watch together in the evenings at Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve not seen or heard anything about Clatterford, but it is a BBC production and therefore in my eyes can do no wrong.

Tangled- well it is a great favorite of Little M’s especially since she has a Rapunzel or ‘Funzel’ nightdress now. The poor DVD spends more time at our house than on the library shelves!

Till next week, when I will hopefully bring back travel tales, farewell friends!

‘We’re of to see the Lizard, the wonderful Lizard of Oz’ and a Library Haul from Week 23 of 2015


I never grew up watching the Wizard of Oz although I did read the book or its abridged version at least. Neither do I recall watching many of the popular Disney movies. This just may be my poor memory. I was always more interested in reading books….deriving a first-hand experience of a story…figuring out the dramatization in my imagination rather than have it delivered to me by an on-screen production.

The first decade or so of my life was spent in England during the 1980s.  I recall watching cartoons on television. The old fashioned ones with a mouse and a cat. Inspector Gadget… Scooby Doo…Fraggle Rock… Postman Pat…the Muppet Show. Basically we watched whatever was shown on television. Somehow, Dorothy, the Emerald City and the sparkling red shoes escaped my attention.

Still despite this fact, it is hard not to be aware of the story… The Wizard of Oz, the book and the movie have forever sparked the popular imagination.

When you have children you are allowed to live a second childhood of sorts. You are permitted to watch all the movies you missed as a child… to indulge your adult curiosity with childlike fancies. To pretend that you have ordered the Wizard of Oz to ‘educate’ your child when you want to watch it yourself with undiluted attention and evaluate it as an adult.

The Wizard of Oz unfailingly delivers. There is something very captivating about the story. Despite not being as visually stunning as the modern productions, the songs, the story, the unique characters created by L. Frank Baum make this a movie worthy of re-watching.

We will definitely not forget this movie especially as my three year old has created a memorable spin-off of the title tune , quite unintentionally…

We’re off to see the lizard, the wonderful lizard of Oz

She will thank me later for posting this on the Internet  I think!

Also pictured in the library haul:

1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die: this is a lovely coffee table book to leaf through. Mostly filled with beautiful snapshots of enviable gardens.

Watercolor Landscapes: this book is an excellent primer, teaching you how to convert a very ordinary natural landscape to a beautiful watercolor. The trick mostly lies in visually editing out unnecessary elements that do not add to the romantic appeal of a scene. Like signposts, electric cables, rundown cars by the wayside etcetera.

50 Shades of Grey: the less said about this the better. I wish I had spent those two hours doing something else…

The Theory of Everything: haven’t watched this one yet but can’t wait to see it.

Goodnight Moon: This may be the second or third time we have borrowed this from the library. I love the visual effects in this story. How the depicted bedroom and its interiors transition from light… to dark…to sleep and inaction.

Have a happy week dear readers. Can’t wait to do some reading this weekend.

Why I document what I read and Corduroy – the book about the ‘Bear who lost it’s button’


The other day, while I was in the midst of my daily activities I was struck by a sudden thought. This is not an unusual occurrence for me. I really like to think about things. Some would say overthink things. I prefer to say I like to mull over things. I’m afraid they are not always deep thoughts. I would like to say that I ponder over the theories of existentialism, being and nothingness and Newtonian principles, but more often than not I wonder what’s for dinner, whether I can go another day without washing my hair or what to paint in my journal that night.

There is one thing I will say about myself. I do like to think about what I’m reading or my overflowing to be read list. I also like to mull over books from the past. How they made me feel? Where I was when I was reading them? How old I was? Did I discuss the book with friends? What my personal non-bookish life was like when I was reading it? So on and so forth…

Then I got to thinking about my new blog escapade and why I like to document what I read. Even when I was a child I used to keep a book diary of sorts. Each page would have the title of the book. The author’s name. A hand drawn illustration about the book- a necessity to make the page look pretty and a short summary about the book.

I keep this blog especially the children’s book section as a useful resource for other parents who might, like I, be bewildered at the book store or the library, searching for something memorable to read with their child. There is another rather selfish reason. I document what I read to store precious memories of what I read with my three year old… what the books were about… but most importantly what our reactions to the book were. I like to imagine her in the years to come scrolling through these blogposts (and not totally obsessed about painting her nails and other ‘teenager-like’ things) and reading about our book adventures. I hope she will grow up to love reading as much as I do. Books are the best companions… well next to people.

Here is a memory from the book ‘Corduroy’ by Don Freeman.

A little bear called Corduroy lived in the toy department of a big shop but was sad because no one ever wanted to buy him. One day a little girl called Lisa fell in love with him and wanted to take him home. Her mother said that the bear had lost its button and therefore it was not a good idea. That night Corduroy searched high and low in the shop to find a button. The next morning, Lisa returned and spent all her saved up money on purchasing Corduroy and taking him home. Corduroy for the first time in his life felt what it was like to be loved and to have a home. Lisa even sewed on his missing button.

Little M had read this book before. Her reaction to the book? “It’s the book about the bear who lost his button”. Her Father who is not up to speed with ‘all things bear-related’ – asked her if this was the same bear we had gone to see at the cinema recently.

‘No Daddy, that was ‘Paddy Bear’ (Paddington Bear), this is Corduroy!”

And that dear readers is what I will carry away with me…