About Me

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Tea-drinking introvert found either behind a book or within arm's reach of one. Book reviewer, and book sniffer. You may have seen me on W24, BooksLive, Aerodrome, Bark Magazine, CultNoise Magazine, or Expound Magazine.

21 Apr 2018

Review: The Bikini Body Motivation and Habits Guide by Kayla Itsines

I am quite sure I’m not alone in thinking I need to lose weight and get fit. Living a healthy life seems challenging, time-consuming and peppered with motivation I was certainly lacking. That’s why I instantly requested a copy of Kayla Itsines’ The Bikini Body Motivation and Habits Guide when I spotted it doing the rounds on social media, and I am so pleased I did. Firstly, the book’s name alone struck home – motivation and good habits? Yes, please! But it seriously goes beyond that; this book is filled to the brim with useful, helpful and awesome content.

Starting with the shortfalls of most types of motivation (see ‘time vs results’) and how to evolve beyond simply wanting to look good (but wanting to feel good, as well as be happy and healthy), we move onto how and why to form good fitness habits, and then onto the juicy part: meal plans (with recipes) and exercises. The meals are easy, accessible and appealing (three things usually lacking in my experience of dieting) and the exercises are easy to follow. It’s a winning combination.

In addition to the content being five-star stuff, the book looks amazing. The pictures are superb, and there is a lovely use of colour, creating this peaceful yet happy vibe throughout which is as inspiring and cheering as the content itself.

Finally, there’s a tear-out workout poster and access to downloads, which makes it possible to take Itsines’ motivation and praise with you wherever you go.

All in all, this book is beautiful, useful, and carefully laid out to maximize its message. I was thoroughly impressed by the look and feel, as well as the user-friendly nature of it all. As a person who struggles with motivation, and has a habit of being a lazy cook, this is the perfect kick in the butt I needed to start my own lifelong fitness journey. I’m also happy to report that two easing-myself-in weeks later, I’ve already lost weight. Thanks, Kayla.

The Bikini Body Motivation and Habits Guide by Kayla Itsines is published by Bluebird Books, an imprint of Pan Macmillan.

8 Apr 2018

Review: Darwin Comes to Town by Menno Schilthuizen

In a world constantly changing to meet the ever-increasing needs of humanity, it is simple to say that today’s cities and urban centres would be unrecognizable and impossible to imagine in years gone past. Indeed, there is a constant, low-thrumming hum throughout social media, news sites, and conversations about how humanity is literally changing the face of the planet, and whether this is to the detriment of the thousands of other species with which we share our homes. Opinions are divided, many will say that humanity is the earth’s single largest pest, that we are ruining nature and using up resources and committing ourselves to a bleak, green-less future. Yet, it seems that Menno Schilthuizen is voicing a somewhat unpopular yet unarguable fact – humans are actually part of nature, and it’s time we stop seeing ourselves as a separate entity, an enemy of the world and the ‘nature’ it encompasses.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer that we are sowing seeds of destruction and endangering our own and our peers’ future. Yet, I was always of the fleeting opinion (even more solidified after reading Darwin Comes to Town) that we are not the terminator to nature’s Sarah Connor. In fact, nature as we understand it – as a separate entity to humanity – will evolve to grow with us, and I’ve no doubt it will survive us.

Menno Schilthuizen is what I consider to be a humanist biologist, and he’s got some interesting and profound observations to share.

The book’s core message is the visibility and impact of HIREC (Human-Induced Rapid Evolution) globally – how insects, animals and plants are evolving in spite of humans to stay suited to their ever-changing habitats. Quite simply, he argues that with the constant evolution, spread and growth of populations (both human and not), each urban species of life will encounter a similar set of urban cohabitants. Nature, to who we credit decay and oblivion by our hands, is a stronger entity than that. It is the counterpart to human change, occurring within and throughout our buildings, systems, and pollution. As we make changes to the environment, so, too, does the environment change itself.

To go into more detail would rob you the thrill of reading this book – and indeed, it is a thrill. Schilthuizen is witty, funny, bright, and easy to understand. His observations and findings are so beautifully and interestingly presented that you can’t help but reflect on and admire his content. In addition, he gives us a spark of hope, in that the creatures we share this globe with are not passively awaiting a fate at the dirty hands of humans; they exhibit strength and cunning beyond that, and it is glorious. Humans are undoubtedly causing uproar in the environment, and leading to enormous upset, but it’s not the end of the world; we don’t hold that much power.

Darwin Comes to Town by Menno Schilthuizen is published by Quercus Books, and is available in South Africa from Jonathan Ball Publishers.