happiness & heroines

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^^the only thing this opposite-of-a-hoarder collects^^
if you know me in real life, this post will come as no surprise to you – i looooove period dramas. in fact, #1 on my bucket list is to be an extra in a period drama. starring in one is just a little too unrealistic, you know? and if there’s one thing i appreciate, it’s an achievable to do list ;)
If i somehow got access to a time machine, Regency era London would be my first stop. but since time machines still belong to the realm of science fiction (a genre i’m much less partial to, by the way), i escape to this world via the page and the screen.
i’ve been on quite the historical classic bender recently – I read a couple of Heyer’s, Northanger Abbey and North and South, so i thought i’d write a post about my favourite places to get my fix:

 

books:

Georgette Heyer
my favourite author of all time. My grandma introduced me to her books when I was 13 and ever since then I’ve read every book of hers I could get my hands on. i just love their impulsive heroines, dashing heroes, hilarious characters dialogue, exciting plots and of course the perfect romantic endings. why none of her books have been turned into films or mini series is such a mystery to me!
my favourites: arabella, these old shades, devil’s cub, regency buck and the black moth.
Jane Austen
i’m a little slack in that i’ve only read pride and prejudice and northanger abbey (I know, i know) but her film adaptions are so great!! sense and sensibility is currently on my bedside table so i’m excited to let you all know my verdict.
Elizabeth Gaskell
i just read North and South but haven’t made it to the rest of hers yet – but apparently wives and daughters and cranford are both excellent!

 

films/mini series:

Sense and Sensibility with Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman – oh my goodness Rickman is INCREDIBLE in his portrayal of Colonel Brandon. This film has such an amazing cast and I could watch it over and over.
Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth – the definitive pride and prejudice adaption. colin firth and jennifer ehle are perfection as these characters.
Northanger Abbey with JJ Feild – the book drags in places so i reckon the film does a better job of advancing the story along, and Feild makes a very charismatic Tilney. love it!
Emma with Romola Garai – the best emma adaption! Garai is a sparkling Emma.

 

adaptions:

the Lizzie Bennet Diaries – haha you knew this was coming. so good!
Emma Approved – also fantastic – the leads have incredible chemistry and I’ve always had a soft spot for Knightley, who is portrayed impeccably.
From Prada to Nada – great fun, a lot less trashy than it may appear!
Clueless – again very true to the novel and with gorgeous leads.
and last but not least..
Austenland – i actually enjoyed this so much! if only austenland actually existed … you know i would totally visit.

january

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let’s talk about what i was enjoying in january! aka the month that doubles as the southern hemisphere’s blissful golden month and the northern’s devil freezing month.

I was….

cooking:

revisited my cherry clafoutis from last summer – a really helpful side effect of blogging is that recipes you’d made once (and improvised on a bit) are there ready for you when you want to make them again!
though i must emphasise not to overbake – i accidentally did and it wasn’t quite as silky this time around.

made a quick cherry compote with cherries that were getting soft –
pitted cherries + a sprinkle of sugar + a dash of vanilla + a knob of butter + a splash of brandy, simmered for 15 mins = saucy and delicious. how’s that for exact quantities ;)

avocado toast with thick slices of fancy seeded bread + LOTS of very ripe avocado + crumbled feta + salt and pepper

(are we sensing a theme here? fruit and vegetables that are verging on over-ripeness? summer, y’all)

drinking:

rosé – oh my goodness i have LOVED rosé this summer – it definitely unseated G&Ts as my drink of choice in january. a nice cold glass of it on a warm summer’s evening has been just brilliant.

watching:

the lizzie bennet diaries – oh gosh these are wonderful and i just devoured them! it’s a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, and simply delightful. i watched 99 four minute episodes in 48 hours – a pretty good effort you might say! i am now eager to watch their adaptions of Emma and Little Women, and will report back.

doctor foster – tv one did a special timetable for this gripping miniseries – they aired the complete season over 5 consecutive nights which really made for fantastic viewing. reluctant to say much about the plot as being ignorant of the details is the best way to begin. just trust me that it is a thrilling drama that will leave you guessing at the end of each episode!

white collar – i got this box set out and watched the 14 episodes over 5 days – so good! i saw janssen reccommend it as her favourite tv show of all time (!) so when i saw it available i was excited to watch it. smart and funny, and i love the main two character’s rapport. 5 stars.

reading:

the luminaries – this is one of those things, like watching the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit films or following the All Blacks/Black Caps that i’ve felt compelled to do to be a patriotic NZer – Eleanor Catton won the Man Booker prize for this complex novel. i was simply in awe of her clever mind and layered writing. definitely not a quick easy read but a rewarding one for sure! super gripping towards the end. i loved the self reflexive, omniscient narration.

wild by cheryl strayed – i’ve had this one on my list for a while after reading a few of her dear sugar letters on the internet. i hadn’t seen the film, and am unsure if i would want to following reading the book – just because the enjoyment for me lay in her narration of her experiences hiking the PCT, rather than the hiking of the trail itself. one thing i took from the book was that with knowing of strayed first and foremost as an empathetic, insightful advice columnist/writer, my impressions of her were of a really angelic, perfect person. in the book, she has imperfect experiences and at points acts in not very likeable ways, so it was very telling for me that her advice for troubled people stems from her own experiences – these are why she is able to write so movingly on such matters. a special reminder of the role that negative experiences have in forming our character and making us wiser people.
interestingly, in the luminaries, there is a great quote about one of the characters – “He had always been irreproachable in his conduct, and as a consequence, his capacity for empathy was small.”

the silver linings playbook by matthew quick – another book turned film starring bradley cooper and jennifer lawrence. i read his other book the good luck of right now last summer, and prefer it just a bit, but he again writes with gentle humour about characters with differing mental health states. a lovely read.

fates and furies – ummm, this had absolutely sensational prose – i would frequently go back and reread the page i’d just finished to appreciate groff’s brilliant imagery. and such a fascinating story! very deserving of its acclaim, do read it.

catlins calling

i’m in wanaka at the moment, which is definitely rates very highly in the nz pretty places list, but i wanted to backtrack to a day trip i took in the midst of exams with my very dear clara and jess.
we all had a significant break between exams which we wanted to exploit to do some adventuring, and the catlins topped our little bucket list.
a quick geographical representation of where all these towns i talk about situate themselves in nz:

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^^going anticlockwise, we have Christchurch, Timaru, Oamaru, Dunedin, the Catlins, Invercargill and Wanaka^^

the catlins, of course, are that picture the very lowest on the map, and are a drive down the east coast from dunedin.

our top picks to see were:

the purakaunui falls

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nugget point + lighthouse

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the mclean falls

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and we were more than content to allow for any other serendipitous occurrences on our way, which included a sheep traffic jam (only in NZ), a visit to a kitsch café with an alarming amount of frog figurines, a donkey sighting, teapot land (oh gosh) and two more waterfalls.

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we sure packed a lot into one day!

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