Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Reading Nook - Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda Review

 I recently finished Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Adgenda by Becky Altertalli and here are some of my thoughts on the book.
This book took me completely by surprise, being a visual person the cover was ashamedly what drew me in to begin with, but that soon faded as I started reading.

This is contemporary YA book which was witty and funny in all the right places. Centered around Simon our 16 year old protagonist who is exploring his sexuality as he faces the highs and lows of highschool life.
This book follows a cute and adorable love story between our beloved Simon and a boy who we first only know as 'Blue' an anonymous  and rather charming email buddy. At first our not-so-openly gay Simon and Blue exchange harmless daily emails that soon turn into a blossoming e romance before our very eyes.

I enjoyed the fast pace nature of this book, the quirky ins and outs of friendships and the beautifully written family dynamic when it came to Simon's family. There are some very lovely moments written into this book,Some I loved and some I didn't really care for.  It showed the many facets to how people react when finding out someone in their life is gay. Which I really appreciated, it wasn't all just Oreo's and rainbows which is appealing to me as a reader.
Following Simon on his journey to revealing to the world that he is in fact gay, we  are taken on his journey as he deals with this development and how he comes to terms with this in a high school setting.
We watch as Simon lusts after a boy through email conversations while trying to keep a normal persona in school, which in time becomes hard to do as news gets out about his sexual preference.
I think a lot of people will connect well with this book, as memories of my teenage years flashed before my eyes during certain scenes in the book, the way love was portrayed within the pages was bang on how I remember it as a 15 year old girl, and I love that about this book, its a heart strings puller.

Most characters in this book aren't fleshed out, which is a shame because I feel the writer has created such a colour cast of characters that I wanted to get to know a little better, but never got the chance to. That really is my only criticism to this book. I just wanted some more meaty characters as Simon is such a well fleshed out character, I expected his friends to be on the same level within the book.

Overall I thought this book was a lovely light read, a little too perfect when it came to the ending, but certainly not a book that disappoints. Even though this book is like nothing I've ever read, I am quiet surprised how quickly and easily I read this. Simon's character makes this book worth picking up alone. And of course who doesn't love a good romance.  

I gave this book a 4/5 stars on goodreads. 
I got an E Arc Copy of this book from and this in no way shapes my review. 

Seeya Soon! with some art! 
x Courtney

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Reading Nook - My Bookish History.

It was purely by accident I found the youtube world of books... also known affectionately as Booktube. Much like my stumble into the filofax world I was intrigued.

As a self labelled book nerd and all around book lover all through my schooling, I had a huge passion for books since I was a small girl. My family always revered books and reading, and one of my fondest memories was of my mum reading to my sister and I, a Roald Dahl classic,  Fantastic Mr Fox We sat still (which was rare) for hours as mum read to us, it was magical and one of my very favourite memories still to this day.

I read book after book in my early teens, spending summer holidays in Sydney with my Nan, pouring over her bookshelves as she picked age appropriate books for me,  which I devoured one after another, I loved books but that love became a somewhat dormant love for many years, I would read a book here and there, but that was it.

I stopped making time for books.

You wouldn't think that I was a dormant book lover,  between John and I, we had enough books to house two and a half utterly huge bookcases, like I said I loved books, and couldn't bare to part with the collection I had built up during my high school days. So I packed them up into boxes each and every move, and believe me,  I have moved a lot during those years.
 Our shelves before the rearrangement

Fast forwarding to present day, well a little before present the day I found booktube, it was like a breath of fresh air had been breathed into the shelves of my books, like they sprung to life like the movie Ink heart. I sat up watching video after video, devouring like I once did the books which now grace my shelves.

These videos were of passionate readers with book backdrops that would make some libraries ache. Giving opinions and emotions, book rants and book loves. It was like almost coming home to hug the 15 year old version of myself as I lay on my bed, propped on my elbows,  feet up in the air turning the pages of a well worn John Marsden Book, Tomorrow when the war began. Even now I smile as I type this recalling the memories.

I spoke to my husband at high speed, explaining that we need to start incorporating reading back into our every day life, we needed it, our kids needed it almost more than we did, living in today's world where kids are bombarded with electronics and hours of TV I felt our kids were losing their ability to use their imagination, and books were the starting spark for that creative fire, action needed to happen

My teacup humans after a trip to a bookstore in the city.

We began by rearranging our bookshelves,  sorting them into genres and authors, we both came to the marriage with many many books so it was interesting to spend a Friday night with the man I love discussing our favourites, and creating homes on shelves for them. We bought in a slim shelf to put next to the bigger ones, to create TBR shelves, books that we intend to read, a his and hers if you will.

We began planning trips to op shops (thrift stores) as books in Australia are on the rather expensive side, so what better way to start collections than by trying to find second hand books that need new homes, the kids had ideas of what they wanted to find and most trips each of them came home with 1-2 books each, Elijah scouring the shelves to find weather and disaster books and Lily looking for books on animals. It has become a bi monthly adventure for the family, where we go visit different bookstores and each come out with a small haul.

The first books from an op shop trip - the Sibella Court book was my glory find that day.

I have honestly loved every second of our new journey as a family, it gives John and I a new avenue to explore together, as we talked very little about books even though we clearly are big readers once before, and now again.

It has been amazing to take some time each day with lunch, and at night to just curl up on the couch with a book and forget life for 30 mins, I had forgotten how truly magical it is to just immerse yourself in a book, I've found myself laughing out loud, sobbing my heart out and just plain giddy with the array of books I've devoured this month (which has been quite a large chunk!)

I even created a whole book in my Journal devoted to books! Writing down the books I read, and taking notes during them, has been a rather enjoyable task, also helpful if John and I decide to start our own Booktube Channel, which has been thrown around a lot lately.

I've even enjoyed the little bookcase image, where I've been pasting down little images of books I've been reading, I need to add a few more! as I've read much more than whats on the shelves currently.

I know reading isn't for everyone, but I think one should try it before they decide they aren't a reader! It helps open up your mind to so many ideas and thoughts! Its a mini vacation from the mundane routine of life. Its done wonders for the kids, with our daily allotted reading time, even to the point where Elijah has asked for longer books to read.

I will continue the Reading Nook on the blog each month with an assortment post of what I'm reading, and what have been my faves from the month, with mini back stories.

Even though this is a rather lengthy blog post, I feel it had to be written about, this post has been bubbling away in my brain for sometime now, and I felt it was time to get it all out. I hope I helped spark something in you the way Booktube did for me.

Drawing videos and blogs will be coming soon now that my husband is home! and I feel I can create again.

All my bookish love 
My Good Reads Link -

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Creative License - Raven Ink Book Review

A new segment that will feature on the blog will be art book reviews, I know there are many of us out there that adore some eye candy, and I am a confessed art book buying crazed woman. So many ask me what my favourite books are when I show a new acquisition so I thought as a monthly blog post I would review the books in my collection and any other new ones that may happen to be adopted by yours truly. 

The book in question is The Creative License by Danny Gregory This book jumped into my basket while I was perusing the books at Kinokuniya which is a wonderful bookstore in the city, it is always such a treat when we visit this book store, with all the lush books, and stunning stationery department I could in fact spend many hours and not get bored. I always find myself in the art section of the book store, how could I not! I was feeling rather blah this day, and saw this brightly coloured watercolour  and instantly was drawn to it. The words 'Giving yourself permission to be the artist you truly are' written right up front caught my attention. I as an artist struggle daily calling myself an actual artist, no I'm not famous, no I don't have work in galleries, but I do art...most days in fact so I wondered what this book could do for me, since I struggle so much with OWNING the title artist when referring to the question...'and what do you do?'

This book changes the way you look at things, I love things that have passion about them, and reading the words while drinking in the artwork it oozes passion for art, drawing and journal keeping. He uses his own experiences to explain things, with little challenges to keep you on your toes, telling you to embrace mistakes as they are what you learn from. Creative license helped me overcome my blank page paralysis. 

Danny urges you to draw in pen, something I still struggle with but hope that in the new year I will throw myself into the whole no erasing things notion this book preaches. 

The images in this book are a visual pleasure to look at, they make reading this book a dream, I still to this day open the book up and fip through it to be inspired all over again, catching myself reading sections over and over never tiring of it. 

If you are entertaining the thought of keeping a drawing journal, or a visual account of your days and I know many of us are doing this to an extent in our Hobonichi journals this book is a great companion for you. It gets you out of your little box, and pumps you with confidence, whilst helping you get a feel for drawing even if you haven't ever entertained the idea of drawing a stick figure. 

I high recommend this book for the beginner and for the intermediate, we as artists like to feel that we are not alone in the love for keeping a journal and this book shows such love and joy for drawing everything down and keeping it between the pages of a journal. I have since purchased several other books by Danny Gregory and have devoured every single one of them, each as amazing as the last. 
This book should be your next purchase, you wont regret it! 


x Courtney

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hobonichi Supplies - What do I use?

After many requests, I sat down and filmed a Hobonichi Supplies Video! I spent quite a while finding links for everything!  hope they help you if you decide to purchase anything in the video!
Lets get Started!
The Peerless Watercolor Set
US supplier :-

Zig Clean Color Real Brush (my favourite waterbrush)
Zigg Clean Colour Real Brush :-
US :-
AUS - No Links I can find that are as cheap as dickblick!

Sakura Gelli Roll - various colours
When I find a competitive Australian Link I will add

Letraset Neon Markers :-

Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen - Big Brush

Prismacolour Premier Coloured Pencils :-

Koi Watercolour Pocket Field Sketch Box
US - where I bought mine
Daniel Smith Etsy Seller - (Fantastic seller, great way to try high end watercolours if you are on a budget)

Stencils were all fro DAISO

Tim Holtz Distress stains
US: -

Uni Pin Fine line pens in various sizes
US Girls :-
AUS Girl:-

some items that didn't get photographed - because it started to pour and the wind picked up so I was running inside!
Derwent Inktense Pencils

Mechanical Pencil - Pentel p3650.5mm
AUS :- Grabbed this at the Japanese Bookstore in Sydney but I'm sure you can find it at officeworks or something similar

Uniball Signo White
AUS:- You can buy them from KikkiK they just re-brand them.

Posca Paint Marker - White
AUS - Officeworks Sell these as well as

Artline Smoove Ballpoint Pen

Below are just some pages that are currently in my Hobonichi, I have totally adored drawing my day, I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I am, yes the editing and uploading it a bit of a pain but I have gotten into a routine where I do it on auto pilot.

I enjoy the process of seeing how I bring things to life, some days I am really stumped and turn the camera on hoping not to stuff up! As long as people watch, I will endeavor to draw and film them.

If you have any questions feel free to ask! I do try and answer everything I read as fast as possible!
get our your sketchbook and draw your day!

x Courtney

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Planners and Journals - What am I useing?

This post wont be a long one! as I filmed a rather long video about this which you can find below.
With my word for the year being accountability I had to really think about what I wanted in this years planner journal line up, I needed them to inspire me and also keep me in check.

With the sudden hype around the Hobonichi journals/planners I must admit at first I wasn't as pulled as others were...till I saw this video
and that video is like a drug for me! I watch it more times than I care to admit to the universe. My husband even mentioned the video in his VOWS! yep...I love it.
As I mentioned in my video, I am a left hander and we suffer a lot with writing and what we write in and ring binders well they annoy me...I have had my arm and hand banged up against the rings for a whole year and it get's to a person after a while, so I decided to go rouge and try all BOUND planners and journals this year, and just use a ring binder for my wallet.

As you an see the bulk of my books are hobonichi's. I am using the two a6's as my home and work planners they are small and easy to carry both without putting my shoulder out.
Above is my work a5 hobo month on two pages, as things go up I write them into the calender.

This was a gift for xmas from my Besty Joanne (go check her blog shes just started up and already I know it is going to be amazing ) this planner is AMAZEBALLS it is helping so much with my one little word accountability

It is helping me immensely keep my dates for the blog, knowing when things are coming up.
there is a weekily spread aswell, too much awesome for one planner!

Above is a cheap notebook from Kmart, that I bought for the quote on the front and it now houses all my notes and brainstorming for the blog and my youtube channel then that gets filtered into actual posts which then make it to the blog streamline...I know proud right!?

and then you have both my journals, my daily drawing hobonichi a5 and my Gillio Giramondo, these are my two journals for the year of 2015!
I have been drawing daily on camera for everyone to see, so if you havent see any of them I'll leave the latest one down below for you to watch.

and that is me done for the journals and planners for 2015 I hope you enjoy the videos
x C

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 word of the year - ACCOUNTABILITY

The year that was, 2014 started out with such high expectations that it was going to be the year where I chased down joy. For Joy was my word, and yet this year was one of my toughest emotionally and mentally. I struggled with the stress and anxiety of planning our wedding from the ground up. Thinking that this was going to be a breeze boy was I wrong, it was one of the hardest and yet most rewarding things I did in 2014.

I think choosing joy was a rookie mistake, with my rose coloured glasses on thinking that the year if I was just 'happy' then everything would just work out and yet it didn't, because sometimes joy cant be controlled. Joy and depression are not friends and I worked that out. This year has been a rather hard year, I don't deal well with pressure clearly! 

So when sitting down to think about my word for 2015 I know I didnt want to pick a word I couldnt control, for it would only disapoint me if I got to the end of the year and another word would be a waste.  So with such big plans for my little blog and my youtube channel what word would be fitting. There were a few words that got thrown about, John even suggested home, but it didnt click. Most things I set out to do seems to fizzlle out, my blog for example I posted 4 times in 2014 an all time low since I started, even though I have ideas bouncing around my head I never seemed to take the time to get them out or started.

My word for this year is accountability, something I can control, something I am responsible for, I want to be accountable for my blog, my channel, my little business and also my health. I want to take charge of 2015 with a fire in my belly, Ive made pre plans already, I wont be planning to fail this year, I want to plan to win. I have many projects and ideas that I want to execute this year and the only way that is going to happen is if I am accountable for my actions.

In the above image I have a pile of planners, journals and notebooks that Ive decided are going to keep me on track for the year of 2015.  I was going to go over them in this post but I think that will take away from just talking about my word. So my 2015 journals and planners will have a separate post and video to go along with it as many prefer videos to written text.

What is YOUR word for 2015 I'd love to know.
x Courtney


Friday, January 2, 2015

Daily Drawing - Hobonichi a5

This year I've decided to embark on a daily drawing adventure, I did start something like this last year and fizzled out, but because my word of the year (post to come) is Accountability I am throwing myself into tasks that have deadlines, and daily is a deadline when it comes to drawing!  I did start daily drawing in My Midori as you saw in my planner and journal round up post,  but again, with no dates to keep me accountable I seemed to let that fall by the wayside as well.
(yes I know the photo is upside down...dork mode initiated)
At the end of last year. I purchased a Hobonichi in both a6 and a5 size, now I wont go into too much detail as I will have a 2015 Planner and Journal post coming in the next week - we shall leave it at I bought them, I have them, I'm using them (more on that later). I decided that I wanted to use the a5 Cousin Hobo to document my day in drawings not only because I love to draw, but because I think doing the art of drawing daily will vastly improve my skills! I've always said just keep drawing, every single day and your hands will get the message.

Behold my messy desk last night, as it was so hot all day and my studio is literally just a re-purposed garage with no air con! so I filmed late last night.

I will be attempting to film and upload daily as I didn't expect the video to be 10 mins long even though I sped it up, so doing a weekly video is too long! so I shall do my best to get the videos done, and I will do a weekily video post maybe on here as I have other things I want to post!

I hope you enjoyed the little drawing video and the photos!

xx Courtney