February was such a roller coaster. I mean, it was pretty full on but once again, the southern state of Victoria found itself in the midst of yet another lock down. Apparently nobody does lock downs like the Victorians.
It all started when the very contagious UK strain of coronavirus sparked an outbreak in the hotel quarantine program. As the cluster grew and the panic buying started to set in, we all knew it was only a matter of time before we were all forced into lock down 3.0.
But lock downs and panic buying aside, February actually turned out to be a very social month which is new for me. I like to call myself an introverted extrovert. I love going out but I also just love chilling at home. But my social calendar proved to be a welcomed change after my recent struggles with mental health and I ended up doing a lot.
Here’s what I got up to this month…
I’m very lucky to have an amazing network of friends and family but when I’m feeling anxious I tend to retreat away. [Which is why I’ve been a little quiet this month and slow to reply to all your comments]. This time though, my work wives didn’t let that happen and I’ve realized that it’s okay to ask for help – you are not a burden.
On that note, the highlight of the month was definitely being invited over for lunch and a movie. My work mum, who refers to herself as my “Wog Mum” and her daughter spoiled me rotten, surprising me with a formal garden party. We spent the afternoon laughing and gorging ourselves on pasta, roasted vegetables, cupcakes and tea served in a Beauty and the Beast tea set [to my absolute delight]. Afterwards, we curled up on the lounge and watched Anastasia. It was the perfect day and I left feeling lighter and positive.
Besides the beautiful garden party, I went bowling with my work wives. It was a very close game – a little too close for comfort – but in the end, I took the gold. After bowling, a co-worker and I decided to hit the dinning street for some muscles and lamb. In true Alexandra fashion, I ended up with tomato sauce all over my dress. Note to self: if a muscle doesn’t want to open just leave it.
When Victorian Premier Dan Andrews announced a snap five day stage four lock down my first reaction was “is this a joke?” I mean, you just can’t make this stuff up. But then I figured what better way to spend five days at home than curled up in the sun re-reading your favorite book? I ended up spending my time on the alfresco, writing and immersing myself in Crescent City. Best stay-cation ever.
Other highlights include watching Always and Forever, Lara Jean, celebrating Singles Awareness Day in lock down with Titanic, a bottle of rosé and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, reading A Court of Silver Flames and hosting a pizza/movie night. [We watched Rodger and Hammerstein’s State Fair and Marnie by Alfred Hitchcock].
The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody | YA > Contemporary | ★★★☆☆ | The Geography of Lost Things is a road trip in the style of Amy & Rodger’s Epic Detour. There’s a heavy focus on family as Ali learns to forgive her absent father and let go of the past. And it’s a cute, summery book but it’s nowhere near as polished as Morgan Matson. That and I wasn’t as invested in the characters.
Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe by Sarah Mlynowski | YA > Contemporary |★★★☆☆ | Fact: I am obsessed with the idea of summer camp. There’s just nothing like it in Australia which is why I was super excited to read Just a Boy and a Girl in a little Canoe. But as fun as the camp setting was the book felt very juvenile. Cheating plays a major role in the romantic subplot and that’s fine but after the climax, it all feels rather pointless.
Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson | Middle Grade > Adventure |★★★★★| Considering the fact that travel seems to be off the table for the foreseeable future I decided it was time for a re-read of Journey to the River Sea. I mean, there’s no passport needed with Maia and Miss Minton. Journey to the River Sea harks back to a period of explorers and lords featuring an iconic journey to the heart of the Amazonian Basin.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman | Adult > Contemporary |★★★★☆| Meet your new favorite adult contemporary – Nina Hill just worms its way into your heart and never lets go. It’s wholesome and charming, basically a weighted blanket for the soul. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a love letter to introverts and book lovers alike. It’s about broadening one’s horizons and venturing outside of one’s shell. And the prose bleeds wit and snark.
Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas | Adult > Urban Fantasy |★★★★★| Second read and Crescent City is still a
freaking masterpiece. Part urban fantasy, part buddy-cop murder mystery, it’s a sprawling, complex novel of epic proportions. And I love how ~adult~ it is. I mean, we’re not in Kansas anymore kids. It’s confronting, it’s different and I love the darker, gritter vibe.
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas | Adult > Fantasy |★★★★☆| Okay, here we go, most anticipated book of the year and I’m disappointed to report that A Court of Silver Flames didn’t exactly live up to my sky high expectations. First of all, the book kinda put a dampener on the Inner Circle. The other issue I had was the final act which felt a little rushed. But semantics – it was still EPIC, proving once again that nobody writes broken characters like Sarah J. Maas.
Despite a short stint in lock down and my mental health I actually had a lovely month. Yes there were plenty of hard days but I’m thankful for my friends for supporting me and holding my hand through it all.
Next month, I’ve got a plan in motion to squash my anxiety for good – I’m looking to bullet journal more for mindfulness and to track my fitness goals. Not only will this help me feel more calm and organised, but its a good way to boost creativity. I’m also wanting to finally start watching Bridgerton. In terms of reading, I’m kicking the month off with The Duke and I before launching into The Girl From Everywhere duology [which has been sitting on my shelf for eons]. I’m also planning a re-read of the Great Gatsby and All the Stars and Teeth if I get time.
As for Reading by Starlight? Keep your eyes peeled for my spoiler free review of A Court of Silver Flames – it’s dropping next week and I can’t wait to share my thoughts.
I hope you had a lovely month. I also just want to remind you [just in case you need to hear it too] that your mental health doesn’t define you. Better days are always on the horizon. Wishing you another fantastic reading month and don’t forget to let me know what you got up to in the comments below.