New Year’s Resolutions: Love This Radical Approach To Weight Loss!

I read this fantastic article the other day by Jane Caro about weight loss and dieting. It’s not a topic I usually do a lot of reading on, but the link was part of a conversation on Twitter that was passingly intriguing, and I rather like Caro’s commentary on life (not that I realised she was the author until I read the byline at the end of the article!). I really do need to get myself back to a healthy weight this year, or at the very least a healthy level of musculature, because at the moment my 4-yr-old can literally whip my arse in a run around the block, and my lack of core strength means my loose joints fall out of place a LOT. And joints falling out of place HURTS. Just FYI.

So anyway, I clicked and read, and what I discovered was, actually, a radical approach to weight loss that, instead of advocating dieting and willpower, was actually advocating a social revolution: what if, the article supposes, we all changed our societal expectations of working 12-hour days, of getting home exhausted and dialling for a pizza, of high-stress, low-sleep lives, and instead focused on reducing social pressure? What if we tried to change society so it was acceptable to get the right amount of sleep, to take time off for family, to get home at 4pm so we had time to cook a healthy and nutritious meal?

You guys, I LOVE this. Stress and lack of sleep are, as the article notes, major causes of over-eating, especially for me–and over-focussing on what we eat can lead to all sorts of psychological and emotional drains, and even damage. So, this year, I’m going to choose to prioritise my sleep, not just because I know that I overeat most when I’m overtired, but also for the other flow-on benefits that better/more sleep will allow. 2017: the Year of Good Sleep. Because sometimes, you can’t change the world, but you can at least ensure that you’re equipped to cope.

<3
A

#MadeItMonday: A Birthday Picnic :)

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

#MadeItMonday contribution of the week: it was my birthday recently, and we had a picnic dinner (as picnicking is pretty much my favourite way to consume food apart from a) in bed or b) at a fancy, atmospherey restaurant), and because it was my birthday I decided I wanted to make it actually LOOK like a birthday picnic. I also made myself a birthday cake for, like, the first time ever, because there was a specific technique I needed to practise – yay cake! So my #MadeItMonday contribution this week is the lovely picnic set-up + cake, because I totally made it, and it was creative and a little work of art all of its own :3

Birthday picnic with food artistically arranged over multiple levels on a portable picnic table Single tier birthday cake covered in pale yellow buttercream, with a round posy of soft cream roses clustered over one edge and gold left speckling the top and part of the front

Don’t forget to link to your contribution in the comments!! 🙂

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Super Cute Short Film (For Kids): Sanjay’s Super Team

My son recently acquired the DVD for The Good Dinosaur, and after the compulsory viewing, we were all just kind of piled on the lounge, letting the credits run. Little did we know that good old Pixar had a nice surprise for us (although if we’d bothered to look under ‘bonus features’ I’m sure we could have found it, ha): their latest, super-cute and utterly delightful short film, notionally for kids (but we all know the adults are going to love it just as much ;)). Sanjay’s Super Team is cute and can be read either superficially as a fun story, or with more depth, delving into the relatively obvious moral. It’s only seven minutes, and I totally recommend it <3

 

‘Sanjay’s Super Team’ Oscars 2016 Short Film (Animated)-HD from Ana Lucia Pio Borges on Vimeo.

3 of the Most Highly Awesome Animals With Pointy Bits On Their Faces

Yup, today I wanted to share with you three random animals that I’ve seen repeatedly around the place lately, for various reasons, elaborated on below. Their common point is that they all have pointy bits on their faces! Oh, also that I think they’re incredibly shiny 😉 I know, I know, this is totally random, but they’re pretty cool animals, so bear with me 😉

First up we have the delightful nawab caterpillar, who’s been doing the rounds on Twitter:

green nawab caterpillar with frondy face that looks like an alien helmet

Innit so cute?! For a caterpillar that is…

Secondly, we have the ever-charming nudibranchs (also known less gloriously as sea slugs 😉 )! This is just an indicative image; nudibranchs come in all colours of the rainbow and are just as fabulous :o) I have a bit of a fascination with these critters (probably they are one of my favourite animals) and I see them on my social media feeds pretty regularly as the twinny one Liana Brooks is also enamoured of all things oceanic 🙂

white nudibrach with black and orange stripes and orange fronds

And finally, narwhals!! There are a whole buncha memes out there about how narwhals are the unicorns of the sea, and AS IF THEY AREN’T, HA. I’m kind of obsessed with narwhals at the moment because I’m plotting a narwhal birthday for the toddler later in the year O:) I may or may not already have the cake planned……. (Actually, that’s what inspired the theme of the party, because I’d seen all these amazing unicorn drip cakes around the place and wondered how I could put my own personal spin on them, and since she had a fabulous angler fish drip cake for her first birthday I figured why not continue the ocean theme?! :D)

two narwhals sword fighting in the ocean

So there you go. My random top three animals for the year so far. Leave a comment and let us know: what’s YOUR top animals of the year so far?

 

#MadeItMonday! Peony Cakes (Includes Vegan Chocolate Banana Cake Recipe)

Last year I attempted to start up #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! However. Blogging and my life being what they are, it, uh, fell by the wayside. But! I am now attempting to redux it, starting today. The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

Here’s my contribution for this week, a pair of cakes I made for my husband’s work right before Christmas. The cream one is a white chocolate mud cake with raspberry buttercream as both filling and frosting, topped with melted white chocolate (I didn’t even bother making ganache, I literally just melted the white chocolate and poured it on :P). The brown one is a vegan chocolate banana cake* to cater for dietary requirements in husband’s office, with a simple cocoa-icing sugar-water frosting. Both are topped with a couple of peonies and some white chrysanthemums I picked up at the supermarket 😉

* Super-delicious, dead-easy recipe below.

Two cakes topped with pink peony flowers

Vegan Chocolate Banana Cake

This is actually a super-delish, moist and satisfying recipe that’s a crowd-pleaser even with non-vegans. Works great for diary-intolerant diets too!

Makes one small cake (20cm?), as per photo, or 16 smallish cupcakes. My recipe 🙂

1 1/4c self raising flour
1/2c cocoa powder, or cacao if you want a stronger, bite-ier cake
1t baking powder
1t vanilla essence
2 mashed bananas (frozen work great)
200mL coconut syrup (or maple syrup, honey, etc – I used honey this time and it was great)
1/3c sunflower or other flavourless oil
1.5t apple cider vinegar
Combine wet ingredients in one bowl and dry in another, then mix all together. Half fill well-greased cupcake tins or cake pan and bake at 170C for 20 mins (cupcakes) / 30 mins (cake) or until they spring back to the touch/skewer comes out clean. Devour! 😀

Best Ad of 2016

So this is totally random, but I was browsing back through my YouTube lists thinking about school (I have a bunch of things saved on there in lists for various classes I teach) and I found this TV commercial, which is up there with my favourite for 2016. I found it to be super body-positive and inspiring, so I thought I’d share :3

What commercials have you seen in 2016 that you actually enjoyed? Please share in the comments!! 🙂

The Circularity of Time, AKA Thinking You Suck Is Kind Of Integral To Being Creative (Sorry)

So I was going through my inbox the other day, theoretically Doing Important Culling And Filing (but actually we know I was totally just procrastinating–procrastifiling?), and I stumbled on an amusing trend. Liana and I email each other a fair bit (though heaven knows her emails are generally more sensible than mine, she being the kind of soul who actually premeditates these things, me being the kind of soul who fires off seven single sentence emails in an hour) and in cleaning out my inbox (massively overdue since Hospital, Surgery, etc) I realised that approximately once a month, Liana and I have an almost identical conversation. The only thing that tends to change, other than minor details, is the role that each of us plays. Generally speaking, it goes like this:

L (or A, depending on the month): Woe! WOE! I am writing things, and THEY ARE AWFUL!

A (or L, depending on the month): No! NO! You are writing things, and they are AWEFUL!

L (let us assume it is her month for a breakdown): But you don’t UNDERSTAND! I have DEADLINES! And TERROR! And I AM A HACK!

A (because it’s her turn to console): But I DO! You have DEADLINES! And TERROR! And THIS IS ALL TOTALLY NORMAL.

L: Wait, what?

A: Seriously. Do you WANT me to pull out the email conversation we had about this last month? Because my inbox is in a state of epic disarray, meaning I have, like, every email sent to me ever since 2010 stored here, and I totally can if you like.

 

Now, what can we learn from this? Other than the fact that Amy really needs to learn to use the delete key, and both of us could stand to be a fraction less melodramatic about writing at times, and maybe the fact that we ought to just collate the best emails and print them out and leave them where we can see them, and…. *ahem* Look. There’s a Point In Here For All Of Us, okay? And it’s this:

ALL creative work involves risk taking. Being creative is risky; putting that creative work out there for other people to see is even riskier. So you know what? Some degree of angst (*TERROR!*) is normal. It’s okay. It’s actually perfectly fine to be terrified that you’re writing the book wrong, or that people will laugh at your picture, or that maybe people will think a tone-deaf monkey wrote your song. That fear? IT’S OKAY. We live in a culture where it’s trendy to be all, “Fear? I have no fear! I am Fearless McNoFear! Watch now I as I dive from an aeroplane sans parachute off a cliff into a shallow sea of scorpions behind held aloft by snakes NAKED WHILE OTHER PLANES SKYWRITE MY BIGGEST EMBARRASSMENTS ACROSS THE VAST BLUE YONDER FOR ALL TO SEE!” But actually, this is quackery. Fear is normal. Fear, to a certain extent, is healthy. You don’t actually have to purge yourself of all fear in order to survive.

What you DO have to do is learn how fear fits into your creative process. Learn to recognise what this specific fear (as opposed to your fear of spiders, or skydiving, or rabid mouldy cheese) feels like, smells like, sounds like, so that when it inevitably rears its head when you’re creating your next piece of awesome, you can sit back, pat it on the head, and go, “You know what fear? I hear you. What we are doing here is scary. We are making ourselves vulnerable. We might not succeed at what we’re trying to do. It might be hard. It might be exhausting. People might hate it when we’re done. But you know what? I know you. You show up every time, at this stage of the game, and that’s okay. I don’t mind you being here. But you’re not going to stop me from creating something I love. Because I’ve done this before, and I know something you don’t know: finishing my creation makes it all worthwhile in the end.”

Fear is an integral, if uncomfortable, part of the creative process – and that’s okay. So get yourself a good support buddy with whom you can have the same conversation every single month, swapping roles as necessary. Save the good conversations, the hearty and uplifting bits, stick ’em up somewhere you won’t forget them, and have faith: Fear is part of the process, which means it comes, but it also goes.

Go make something awesome. You totally got this.

Go on. I dare you.

Stuff I Did In 2016, And What I Plan To Do In 2017

2016. Man. What can I say? It’s been a flaming hellfire of a year for a lot of us, and it seems pretty determined to go out with a smashing bang (I say as I write this on Dec 30). But. There have been a lot of good things this year too. If you need a reminder, hit up this list of 99 ways the world improved in 2016; it’s super inspiring and a great, positive balance to all the negative garbage of this year.

On a personal note, this has been a somewhat tumultuous year for me, involving among many other things emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder in March (which turned out to be gangrenous!!), and returning to work full time after maternity leave. The full time bit wasn’t planned, and added a whole bunch of challenges to the year, especially since I missed about a month of work with the surgery and all. Blah.

But! Despite–or, perhaps because of?–all the rubbish I’ve been dealing with this year, it’s been a great year for learning. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my dreams, my goals, and my work habits, and that’s something positive I can take forward into 2017 and hopefully use to have a fabulous year next time around. One of the best things I’ve done is finally get a handle on an organisational system that really works for me; I’m a full-time high school English teacher (which means 5 classes plus a tutor group/roll call class), I have two kids under school age, I’m trying to build my writing career as well as managing a micro-publisher as part of that, I run a hobby-business with my husband sewing baby things, and I dabble in cake-making on the side (and by dabble I mean I’m setting myself up in the long run for that to be another hobby-business at the very least). Suffice to say, I have a lot going on. So developing an organisational system that actually works to help me keep track of all this has been a lifesaver. I might do a post on that later this week?

But probably the most important discover I’ve made this year in a personal, visceral kind of way is exactly how much it’s possible to achieve simply by showing up on a regular basis, even if that basis is only literally a couple of minutes here and there. I started experimenting with things like taking my laptop to appointments where I knew there was a good chance I’d be in the waiting room for >5 minutes, and actually using that time to write. Also on the writing front, I’m on my way towards learning how to write tired. This might not sound like an especially good or exciting thing, but with the whole full time teaching and two preschool kids thing going on, if I can’t write tired, I pretty much can only write during school holidays. Learning to write tired has meant learning to be a lot more prepared with my writing time–something that’s applicable to everything I’ve done this year, actually. Being able to juggle a lot successfully without losing your sanity or spending every day stressed out and wired means doing exactly what I advise my students to do in exams: don’t rush blindly in, even if you’re worried about running out of time. Take 5-10 minutes to plan, so that once you start writing, you can be effective in using the remainder of your time.*

* Pity I didn’t take that planning advice to heart with this post. It would likely have been a lot more coherent 😛

So most nights end the same way: a quick review of my diary-brain, recapping what needs to happen the next day. If I can manage it, I’ll do the same over breakfast: a quick review, providing an outline of the day ahead and refreshing my memory regarding what I’d like to/need to achieve. And that’s exactly what I mean about coming to my writing sessions more prepared: I’m learning to make better use of outlines (see, e.g., my plotting posts from my visit with Liana Brooks back in October) and when I sit down to write, I usually know at least the rough shape of what I need to say.

The other thing, though, that’s allowed me to get better at fitting writing in around my crazy life, is learning to be more forgiving of myself. I’m a total Slytherin in that my life motto is, “You are not called to be ordinary”, but this doesn’t mean I have to beat myself up about not acing every single thing I do–especially things like first drafts. Learning to write tired has meant learning to bear in mind that first drafts are exactly that: drafts. They don’t have to do anything except exist–and most of the time, when I remember that and am able to just let go, the words that come out aren’t half as bad as I inevitably expect them to be anyway.

So in a rambly way, that brings me to the actual most important lesson I’ve learned personally and viscerally this year: letting go. We all KNOW we should do it, we all KNOW what it means… but to be able to do it? It’s an on-going journey. This year has come with a lot of baggage, but I’ve sifted through it, found the bits I need to hold onto in order to become a better person, and the rest? The rest can go right where it belongs: into the rubbish.

2016, you’ve been a hell of a year, and you’re going out kicking. I can only hope that 2017 will look at what you’ve done, and decide that it can be better. 2017, you’re still new, and young, and beautiful. Sift through that garbage pile for the gems; don’t forget the good things humanity is capable of; don’t forget that you’re humanity too. We’re in this together, you and I, and dammit, we’re going to make it good.

 

** This was originally going to be a simple YAY I WROTE 2 NEW NOVELS AND A NOVELLA THIS YEAR AND THERE WILL BE NEW PUBLISHED THINGS FOR YOU TO READ NEXT YEAR post, but, well, it isn’t. But still: yay! I wrote two new novels and a novella! And the first few chapters of Fox Red were published in the YA anthology That Moment When, which is hitting the bestseller lists on Amazon as we speak! 🙂 And at the bare minimum, 2017 will see the release of the Darkness & Good short story anthology, my non-fic book From The Ground Up: How To Build A World That Really Works, and my YA contemporary fantasy novel, Fox Red. Woo!

My Best Books of 2016

At some point I want to do a quick wrap-up of 2016 (good points, anyway, I think we’ve all had enough of the bad points) and sketch out some things you can expect in 2017, but today I was looking at my list of books I’ve read this year and I realised that some of them I really truly have not crowed about enough. I read some really excellent books this year. You clearly need to read them too! 😀 So, my best books of 2016 – with the clarification that these are books I read in 2016, not books that were published in 2016. The list is kind of long, so I’ve split it up by age/genre to make it a bit more manageable! Links are to Amazon for ease of blurb access.

My Favourite Middle Grade Books of 2016

Pip Bartlett’s Guide To Magical Creatures ~ Jackson Pearce & Maggie Stiefvater
This is a super cute middle grade mystery with glorious world-building and not a wasted word. A genuinely delightful, whimsical story. I’ve already pre-ordered the second book.
My Seventh Grade Life In Tights ~ Brooks Benjamin
I tweeted the author after reading this to say that this was the most tightly plotted book I’d read in a while. A heartful and glorious contemporary middle grade about a boy who just wants to dance. Love it. Tight plotting, great voice.

My Favourite Young Adult Books of 2016

The Raven Boys ~ Maggie Stiefvater
This is a yearly reread of one of my all-time favourites. As ever, Stiefvater’s characters are rich and real, her world is magnetising, and her prose lush and dreamy. Private school boys + public school girl, all with Issues, seek dead Welsh king in back-country Virginia. Everyone is a little bit in love with everyone else.
Saving Francesca ~ Melina Marchetta (Link to Book Depository because Amazon only has the grotesquely white-washed reprint cover)
Another reread. One of my fav YAs as an actual YA person growing up. Francesca is part of the first female cohort in a previously all-boys school. Dealing with that, the issues of her extended Italian family, and her mother’s depression provide obvious conflict. Glorious, authentic voice, fun characters. Felt slightly dated on this reread, but I still recommend and love it.
These Broken Stars ~ Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
##$(*%&$$%)**&*!!)*!!!! LOVE this series. This is epic YA sci-fi romance at its absolute superlative. This installment is wilderness fic, and you can tell the authors have actually done research. Events are authentic, voices is great, plot is gripping, and the romance is perfectly steamy. (Sweet on-page, clear indication of off-page developments.)
This Shattered World ~ Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Another fantastic installment, featuring some A+ worldbuilding, a POC female main lead, and another story that reeled me right in DESPITE the fact that it’s from the perspective of new characters. I was disappointed about that initially, but the reasons for it become clear and the same fast-paced, page-turning plotting and A++ command of voice reel you in regardless.
Their Fractured Light ~ Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Conclusion to the series, again from different perspectives, but again just as richly nuanced and well justified. The over-arching mystery deepens, the good guys team up, things go boom, people go smooch. This series is just perfect, perfect YA sci-fi romance. Love it.

My Favourite Adult (Genre) Books of 2016

Clean Sweep ~ Ilona Andrews
A great new series from the Ilona Andrews team. Urban fantasy with hints of science fiction, sassy dialogue, alpha males, women who know how to handle them, great magic, family mystery–just a great book all round.
Sweep in Peace ~ Ilona Andrews
Awesome second installment in the series, introducing some fabulous new characters and really upping the ante as far as both the stakes and the mystery are concerned. I am SERIOUSLY looking forward to getting my copy of book 3 in the mail in the next few weeks. You can read this whole series for free on Ilona Andrews’ website if you’re keen, but I don’t like screen reading, so I’m eagerly awaiting the post…
Limelight ~ Krista Ball
A fantastic, well-plotted, authentic contemporary romance, featuring a female lead with mental illness (severe panic attacks brought on by social anxiety) who falls for a superstar (and super hot) actor. Great dynamic between the two, good sense of voice, realistic plotting and conflicts–a great romance.

My Favourite Adult (Lit Fic) Books of 2016

A Beautiful Life ~ Michael Futcher and Helen Howard
A play I had to read for school, which I promptly fell in love with. Set partially in Canberra, Australia, in the Iran embassy, and partially in Iran during the main character’s past there, this play deals sensitively with the idea of migrants, refugees, politics and culpability. Just gloriously plotted; watching the story unfold and the mystery slow reveal is immensely satisfying and deeply thought-provoking.
Jasper Jones ~ Craig Silvey
A fab Australian novel about growing up, losing your innocence, and doing the right thing even when the whole town/system is against you. Don’t let the relaxed, talky pace of the first few pages deceive you: there’s a Big Deal coming, and when it does, it lands with a thud. A glorious exploration of morality, sexism and being a hero that’s extremely easy to read. It’s kind of like a contemporary Australian To Kill A Mockingbird, and there are a lot of intertextual references there to support that.

My Favourite Writing Books of 2016

Rise of the Machines: Human Authors In A Digital World ~ Kristen Lamb
If you’re a writer and you’re not signed up to Kristen’s newsletter, I suggest you get on that now 😉 She has fab advice to dispense and does so with intelligence, wit, humour and candor. This is one smart lady and you can’t afford not to hear what she has to say, especially about using blogs and social media effectively to build your brand.

My Favourite General Non-Fiction Books of 2016

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up ~ Marie Kondo
If you’re a practical soul like my mother, the idea of a book on how to tidy might seem somewhat absurd to you. But if, like me, you’re a somewhat whimsical soul at heart, you’ll appreciate this lovely take on how to effectively declutter your home without breaking your heart in the process.
Big Magic ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
Gilbert herself is an author (see, e.g., Eat, Pray, Love), so her book on creativity is naturally slanted towards writing, but it’s equally applicable to any other kind of creative. It’s sweet and romantic and whimsical, and I whole-heartedly loved it. There are parts of it that are totally unscientific, but if you can buy the Pratchettian idea that “[i]nspirations sleet through the universe continuously. Their destination, as if they cared, is the right mind in the right place at the right time.” (Pratchett, Men at Arms), then you’ll appreciate this entirely inspirational take on the creative process, and how to honour it in your life.

 

Have you read any of these? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought! Or, if you haven’t read any of them, leave a comment and let us know what *your* best books of 2016 were! 🙂

Dr Who Christmas Special – Doctor Mysterio

I literally just this minute finished watching this year’s Dr Who Christmas special, and I am filled with hope! I’ve been pretty keen on New Who since my sister introduced me to it back in 2009, but the last couple of seasons… Eh. If we’d been staring down the barrel of another mediocre-ish season, I might have stood a very good chance at falling out of love with it all. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there have been some great episodes: Heaven Sent (spoilers in link) is one of my absolute favourite episodes of all time. But overall, I’ve been feeling a bit meh about it; I’m not a huge fan of Moffat’s plotting, I think. But! The Christmas episode! There is hope!

First of all, I’ll confess upfront that being a superhero episode, this totally tickles a lot of my personal squids*. So it had that going for it to begin with. But….

Wait, let’s just put a nice big SPOILER WARNING from here on in, shall we?

* Personal squids: or cookies, or whatever – the bits of something, usually a work of fiction, that make you gleeful; the weird and wonderful specifics of what exactly it is that you like in your fiction. Your personal A++ tropes, if you will. I think A. Merc Rustad coined the term, at least in my hearing 😉

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Still with me? M’kay. So, we have superheroes, which, YAY (superheroes are almost an auto-YES for me, and yet I haven’t seen any of the Marvel movies except the Iron Man trilogy – WEIRD). But then we also have much tighter plotting than I’ve come to expect from Moffat; he seems to trend towards big, sprawly, open-ended plot lines that may or may not ever end up being resolved. Doctor Mysterio, however, was neatly self-contained (which, okay, Christmas episodes are supposed to be like that, I know, but still, YAY). Yes, it was the traditional formula of aliens-trying-to-invade-the-Earth,-but-only-one-man-stands-in-the-way, but it was nicely done.

Then there was the nice inclusion of the baby subplot. On reflection, they may have been trying just a little too hard to press a point (YES BOYS CAN BE NANNIES TO, Dr Who wants you to know, DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT? No, actually I don– DO YA? DO YA? WANNA FIGHT??!), reflected particularly in the dinner conversation between Mrs Lombardi and The Ghost, but I’m a sucker for protecting-the-innocent kinds of tropes and I genuinely appreciate knowing that I can watch Dr Who safe in the knowledge that no kids will be harmed in the making of this show. For me, seeings young kids or babies harmed or even distressed is a MAJOR trigger (though I am happy to make my own kids distressed in the name of making them eat their vegetables, HAHA!!), so I love that certainty that the baby will be treated respectfully (the Doctor speaks Baby, yo) and will come out of things A-OK.

And then the minor characters! Okay, so Mrs Lombardi (whose first name I shamefully cannot remember and lazily cannot be bothered to look up) isn’t exactly a minor character, but both she and the Doctor’s temporary companion were, IMO, fantastic. She is smart and observant and knows her sheet, but is also totally feminine and sexy too. OMG WOMEN CAN BE HOT *AND* SMART? FEMININE *AND* STRONG? NO WAY!! So yes. Her interrogation of the Doctor was A++. 10/10 would interrogate here again.

And the side kick? Hilarious. So pleased he seems to be sticking around, according to the shorts for the next series.

So yes. All around, I quite enjoyed the episode. I’m sure there are problems people could find with it, but for me personally, I’m going to go into this next series positively, with hope that I can once more fall stupidly in love with this franchise. <3

Have you seen the Christmas ep yet? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought!! 🙂