Hello Moonlings, look at me. Posting of a Monday. Never thought that might happen again. Don’t have much to say just wanted to remind you that I have not one, but two YouTube channels!
I have my main channel which is called, you guessed it, Thinking Moon. I’ve 96 wonderful subscribers over there. If you are a regular user of YouTube may I as that you subscribed to me? It won’t take long. The simple click of a button, and I will gladly repay the kindness with a return subscription. I make all kinds of things, such as look books, adventure videos, storytelling and much more.
In addition to Thinking Moon, I also have a channel for the green baby squish. I’ve told you about him before, haven’t I? If you don’t remember you can read about it here. His channel is called Chookity Pah, and I created it because I make so many videos with him in it, I figured they deserved their own channel. Plus he’s a star in his own right look at that face!
I’ve been such a big fan of YouTube for so long now, and I finally started uploading back in November 2018. The response has been slow but sure. Below are a sample of both channels. Give them a chance, you never know you might enjoy them!
Are you a fellow book worm? Do you love the smell of books? Or the sensation of words filtering through your brain, constructing stories about far off places, and exotic people? Then you have clicked on the right post!
I’ve read 30 books this year and rated 10 of those books 5 out of 5 on Goodreads. I have listed them below in order of preference, but let us remember, they are all excellent for their own reasons.
*There are no spoilers, this is a spoiler-free post! Enjoy my friends*
10. “Sourcery” – Terry Pratchett
Look we don’t even need to have a discussion here. Terry Pratchett is a beloved author for so many reasons. He is a hero in the writing community. You cannot read his books without being both touched and entertained. Seriously there is a joke on every page, with his humour being a mixture of complete silliness and intellectualism.
This book picks up with Rincewind the wizard whom we left back in book two “The Light Fantastic.” Rincewind is as reluctant as ever to be the hero, yet cannot stop his fate of becoming paramount to the survival of the Discworld.
Why couldn’t he have stayed at home, on his tiny cot, with the luggage snoozing in the wardrobe?
As far as debuts go, this is up there with the greats for me. I am a poetry fanatic, and very sensitive about its conjuncture. This wonderfully cathartic, yet tragic piece of work filled the gaps of my broken heart, as she waxed about pain, love, life, and the pursuit of elusive joy.
The work is divided into five parts, each a protective canopy over its subject matter. Beginning with “Screaming Numbness” we are treated to exquisitely painful lyrics about suffering and mental illness.
We press on into the pages of “Love & Loss” as she tells her tales from the world of love. As humans, we are never free from pain. We are allowed moments of beauty as a reprieve between the senseless chaos of the universe.
When the flushes of pain and joy are over we are treated to poems about the “Day and Night.” Her suffering mind remembers these times so vividly, and her fascination of the night sky appeals to fellow insomniac in me.
Life is a dazzling series of confusion and clarity. Mirza’s section, “C’est La Vie” has some hard truths about the world we try to live in. When I read these lines they ignite in me my own fears, wonders, and imagination.
The final section “Random Thoughts,” is just that, and we see the author grappling with the suffering of now, hopefully, one day leading to the freedom of tomorrow. Out of struggle, so will the time of quiet victory, and self-assurance be born. Where those of us with kindness, walk alongside those of difficult persuasions. She closes the collection strong leaving us both elated with hope, and sturdy with solidarity. Please buy this poetry collection, it is too exquisite to remain unread.
8. “The Secret Life Chimneys” – Agatha Christie
When I was a child I spent hours of my life watching Hercule Poirot shows with my mother. She has always loved Agatha Christie so recently I asked her what her favourite was and it wasn’t what I expected.
She choose “The Secret of Chimneys” and it is a laugh riot throughout. It does not take itself too seriously, although there is a dead man in the study. There are strong females, silly fathers and a cast of characters you cannot help but love.
7. “To The Women” – Scarlett Curtis
This collection of letters changed the game for me. I thought of all the women who have come before me, those I’ve known personally, and those who have fought on the front lines. When I say I cried in traffic. I genuinely did with one of the letters. The women wrote to her mother who was no longer with her. I ran home and hugged my mother.
6. “A Game Of Thrones” – George RR Martin
When the HBO show ended, I (and probably millions of others), went back to the books for solace and comfort. You cannot deny the character power of George RR Martin’s books. Although we are still two books short of a completed series, and Martin isn’t exactly a spring chicken, I live in hope that the story will conclude in an elegant threading of all storylines.
Until then I continue to read. I am on book three right now, immersed in the Song of Ice & Fire before it all went wrong.
5. “The Clan Of The Cave Bear” – Jean M. Auel
This book set in the prehistory of humankind kicked off a series that eventually disappointed me. Following the life of a young girl who is orphaned at five years old, she is taken in by the people of the Clan. Ayla is blonde and blue-eyed and appears ugly to the Clan who are dark and ancient.
There is love, loss and learning. I recommend reading the first book, but if you are short of time, do not worry about the rest. You will be disappointed. I rated the final book 1 out of 5 on Goodreads. A sad end to an epic series.
4. “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood
I wanted to read this for a long time, and I finally got around to it this year. Even though it was written in 1985, (listen I wasn’t born until 1990!). So this book really affected me. It reminded me that no matter how far we have come, empires slip into dark ages.
It has happened over centuries countless times. It happened to the ancient Egyptian empire twice! With a racist, misogynistic president in the United States, the anti-immigration rhetoric in the United Kingdom, and the complete and utter media silence on what’s happening in Sudan, I realise we are never too far from chaos.
Do yourself a favour and read this book. I won’t tell you anything about it.
3. “The Hunger” – Alma Katsu
This semi-historical horror novel is on plenty of top ten modern horror novels for a reason. Set during the mass migration to the American West, the wagon train known as the Donner party encounters the horrors of hunger, disease and some unknown abomination.
As you jump between perspectives you understand the paranoia of the wide-open desert, the futility of money when there is no food to be bought, and the hidden secrets people keep close to their chest, in hopes they will never be discovered.
When you pick up this book, you will need to put it down on occasion, because it will disturb you. It won’t be long before you pick it up again, to see if you can understand the reasoning for the horror.
2. “The Witchcraft of Salem Village” – Shirley Jackson
I adore Shirley Jackson, and even though The Haunting of Hill House is cited as her best novel, I would argue it is only a small insight into her genius. My favourite of hers is “We Have Always Lived In A Castle.”
When I realised that Jackson had written a semi-historical version of the events that occurred in the now abandoned Salem village, I couldn’t help myself. This is an excellent yet frightening account.
1. The History Of Ancient Egypt – Bob Brier
Ever since I was a child I have idealised ancient Egypt in my head. I would read any books about it I could get my hands on. Fascinated by the hieroglyphs, mummification and papyrus, I imagined what life was like in times more ancient than my young mind could conceive.
My mother got me a beautiful book one Christmas that was tactile and interactive. There were real letters from Egyptologists, explanations about the Rosetta stone, and tutorials on their engravings.
The earliest settlers in the Nile valley was 700,000 years ago, and it wasn’t until 70,000 years ago that they even started using hand tools. Brier’s account brings us through the first settlers through 3000 years of history, all the way to the last Pharoh of Egypt Cleopatra.
I loved this. I listened to it on audiobook from Audible over a month and Bob Brier’s storytelling is superb. If you love ancient Egyptian history, you need to experience this.
Welcome my Moonlings to a positive post in which I make you feel better, while also humbly (nose snort) boasting about my accomplishments.
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while (says every blogger ever). Since January I’ve been writing down 3 things a day that I’m grateful for. Whether that’s having a beer or a lie in. Being grateful for the little moments helped me realise that actually, they are big moments.
My mindset is now that I have the privilege of having a lie-in, the money to afford a beer and the means to be in a PhD programme. I don’t want to take my life for granted and living in the moment is all we have.
It would appear that this mindset has paid off because I realised that even though I’ve accomplished many things off my bucket list, I never truly celebrated them. As usual my ambition and inferiority complex meant I just needed to move onto the next big thing.
We spend so much of our time looking to the future, the next big life stage, but we rarely take the time to appreciate how far we’ve come. So today I want to discuss some of the bigger ones I’ve ticked off my list and actually pat myself on the back for once!
1. Got my masters.
Although I had to do it over two years instead of one, I still managed to get a masters in anthropology and development. This was while working in shift work, full-time, in order to pay for it.
I even won an award for my research and 250euro (see below). I was the only masters student in the PhD Colloquium in which I came second. I got a first(1.1) in my thesis that I wrote in the summer while working full-time in a call centre. That job drained me so much, I often got home at 6 and had to go to bed at 8pm because I was so mentally exhausted.
2. Got a funded PhD
It was September 2014 and I had just started the second year of my classes for my masters in anthropology and development. A PhD student came to sit in the class (it was a small class so you couldn’t miss her). She spoke so eloquently and confidently. Afterwards, we got to chatting and internally I was thinking, “I will never be this accomplished for someone to take me on for a PhD.”
Cut to 2016 I get a mysterious phone call from a man who became my mentor, friend and role model. “I see you started to fill out an application and you haven’t finished it…” (story of my life) “…I’m really impressed with your portfolio and I would like to offer you a PhD scholarship within the Business Management school.”
I am now three years in with one left to go. I have two publications, I presented at a conference in St. Petersburg, and I’m about to embark on my data collection.
3. Got response from publishers.
This may seem silly but I got actual responses from legitimate publishers who liked my 20,000 word draft of my novel. I didn’t want to waste my time finishing it if it wouldn’t have a home at the end. Though it was rejected by some publishers, they responded to it kindly and professionally.
Even though I had to postpone it until after my PhD, I know within my heart that my book will be published someday. If I could tell teenage Jaycee that, she would cry with joy.
See below my vision board I made below Christmas 2018 for the new year and beyond. I’m well on my way to accomplishing what I wanted.
4. Met someone who loves me for ME.
Look at this handsome divil. Honestly, I had tumultuously loves before Le’Boo and that’s what I thought a relationship was. Then I met him and I realised that love can be easy, and you can be loved for every single weird part of you.
5. Started a Youtube channel.
Yes, I have a YouTube channel have you heard? I’ve been watching YouTubers for years now, and I always wanted my own channel but never have the guts.
Cut to last year I was sick of being afraid and I started uploading. I only have 94 subscribers over there, but it’s growing strong. If you want to do something. Do it. There is no better time than now.
It’s better to start late than never even trying.
6. Grew my twitter following to 4500.
The Writing Community on twitter is the best thing I discovered on the internet since memes. Everyone is so supportive. We follow each other, share each other’s accomplishments and commiserate each other’s failures.
If you’re on Twitter and you want to join use the hashtag WritingCommunity and join in the conversation. Follow me over there and once you have writer / author in your bio I’ll follow you back.
What makes a successful blog? It’s simple. Whether you have 1 follower, or you’re lucky like me to have over 600 wonderful followers, write to them. Someone will comment to say they enjoyed reading or felt the same at one stage. I’ve gotten some gorgeous comments here on my blog and made some crazy friends.
8. Finally calling myself a writer.
Yes even though I’ve been writing since I was a small child, I never considered myself a writer. Then I realised. Do you write Jaycee? The answer was yes, I write every day. What is the definition of a writer?
*I AM NOT SPONSORED BY ANYTHING IN THIS POST I GENUINELY JUST LOVE THESE PEOPLE / COMPANIES*
Hello Moonlings! It’s that time of year where we thank the zero-waste / sustainability gods for alternatives to single-use items, animal products and fashions.
This is my second year setting sustainable goals for myself. It makes it much easier for me than trying to take on everything. Usually, people give up because it’s all just a little bit too stressful and seemingly expensive.
Thats a theme I would like to keep mentioning throughout today’s post. It’s important to highlight that being zero-waste (or more waste conscious) and making sustainable choices aren’t as expensive than you think.
In fact, you may end up saving yourself some cash, so let’s get into it!
As you know from my goals for 2019 I have given up beef forever. My honest opinion is I really don’t miss it. Now I understand that’s not going to be the same for everyone but If I crave a burger I can eat a Linda McCartney or a generic veggie burger. I don’t miss it and I was a big fan of steak beforehand.
So let’s talk my pocket. Beef by far is more expensive than plant-based alternatives. You can get a tin of beans for around 70cent (Ireland) per can but non-lean mince is around 4euro.
Healthwise, we could all do with eating less beef. If you’re too much of a fan to give it up forever eat half as much. Remember your heart will thank you for the plant alternatives and veggie nutrients.
Finally, CO2 emissions on beef versus animal products speak for themselves. Ireland is trying to reduce the CO2 emissions related to beef and we can all get involved.
My second goal of being pescatarian has gone better than I expected. I’ve actually stopped eating all meats during the week, including fish. I’ve replaced it mostly with beans, but I’m not opposed to meat replacements such as the aforementioned Linda McCartney burgers, or Quorn (which is not vegan but I’m getting there).
Again it’s forced me to try new foods such as lentils (yes I hadn’t eaten them before this year), mushroom-based meat substitutes and nutritional yeast.
It has saved me money overall, and I’ve learned to make delicious vegan meals thanks to Madeleine Olivia! Seriously if you are interested in low-waste, minimalism, veganism, anything like that, you need to check out Maddie.
It was a little more difficult to kick the habit of going to Penneys for cheap clothes. We all want both the dopamine rush of buying clothes and the convenience of low-cost fashion. However, I have a wonderful sister-in-law who showed me what an ethical company really looks like, and I’m afraid to say Penney’s is not one of them. She introduced me to many brands such as Lucy and Yak (featured in my photos for this post), Pozu and Passenger.
How cute are these cappuccino coloured dungarees (with so many pockets!). Ethically produced and made with 100% cotton. They sell unisex clothing so head over and check out their stock. I’m dying for a pair of their pastel yellow pants:
Tara Button’s book “A Life Less Throwaway” spawned this popular post that many of you seemed to enjoy. In it, I talk about the importance of our relationships and inner peace.
Look out for more I have many planned for the coming months. I couldn’t recommend this book more, I’m not finished (strange for me but it’s been crazy in my life), but if you’re into things that last, look no further.
This is still a disaster. I really need to get my act together, but honestly, with my hair type, it’s so difficult to find shampoo bars that work. At the moment I only wash my hair 1-2 times a week, so shampoo/conditioner lasts me for ages. The bottles are plastic, but you can recycle them.
In more successful news my sister-in-law(she really is the OG) introduced me to this amazing deodorant bar. I’ve used Salt of The Earth for a long time which is great (and sensitive-skin friendly) but it needs to be applied to wet skin, or be wet itself which is not always ideal. This Deo-Bar can be applied to dry skin. It smells absolutely amazing and works like a charm.
So I haven’t gotten the shampoo sorted but the deodorant has so even little bit makes a difference. I also got part of my head shaved so that’s less shampoo/conditioner! I’ve also given up dying my hair and I’m embracing the greys.
Now we move onto the reusable cutlery portion of the year. Sustainability and zero-waste can make you feel really bad about yourself. The odd time you use a plastic fork you feel like you’ve murdered a sea turtle yourself.
Well, don’t worry there is this YouTube channel I love called The Financial Diet. Chelsea there made this wonderful video about minimalism, and how to save yourself money. Don’t worry about buying a whole bamboo set of kitchen-ware. You can use what you have.
It made me feel better because she’s coming at it from the point of view of your pocket. Minimalism, sustainability and zero-waste can work for you. Don’t let companies sell you something just because it’s made of bamboo!
That’s all for today lovelies. Please go check out these other lovelies: