Archive for the ‘websites’ Category


I confess I’m addicted to stationery. . .

In Book Reviews,Business / Self Help,CannonballReadX 2018,Non Fiction,websites on March 11, 2018 by mrsdillemma Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

StationeryI’ll start this post with a confession, I am guilty. 100% guilty. Guilty of being an absolute stationery addict – I geek out over a new colour highlighter, a unused pristine notebook, when I discovered washi tape I thought my life was complete. . . but just don’t get me started on fountain pens, because I’ll never stop.

I’m not sure where my fascination with stationery started, school lists perhaps? But now I guess I’m one of those who like to think that a new notebook might just be the start of that great unwritten novel. Perhaps an unhealthy interest in stationery no longer need be embarrassing . . . .

When a friend @childhoodgames loaned me James Ward’s Adventures in Stationery I was enthralled. I have dived in and out of this book over the longest time – I really should have returned it months ago, its one I’m not sure if I could read cover to cover but being able to dip in and out, devouring a chapter at a time was utterly refreshing.

I have subscribed to Ward’s blog ( ) and must admit would love to attend his annual Boring conference ( ) He promotes his collection of boring ( book / blog / podcast / events / conference ) as a”a celebration of the ordinary, the obvious and the overlooked” – sounds so banal, but its got me well and truly hooked.

Ward’s writing is elegant, he writes in an understated way with just a dash of very dry humor thrown in for good measure – the books tone is just light enough to be entertaining. Its funny, charming and far more interesting that I was expecting and I was expecting a lot.

Each chapter tells the history of one type of stationery; the pencil, the pen, erasers, filing products, journals. . . and tells it in great detail. Who knew the minutiae of the development of iconic brands ( too name just a fraction; Parker, Moleskine, UHU, Tipp Ex, Stabilo, Sellotape ) could be so utterly fascinating. Throughout Ward provides a collection of interesting facts that will cause you to stop and think, to perhaps reassess your perceptions, well maybe not that deeply – but they will provide a good hearty chuckle.

The only thing I would suggest might trouble some readers is the overtly British sections, there are few but they could be totally un-relatable which might put a reader off, for me it was the icing on the cake – having spent a portion of my childhood at school in the UK I found the mention of the Berol handwriting pen ( ) brought back so many fond memories I spent a good hour trawling through the WHSmith website.

Wards conclusion is an interesting piece about the need for stationery in a technological age and the crossover that exists between pen & paper and the digital world – he argues that we still need the personal touch of a handwritten letter, a jotted post-it note and even a paper clipped file. So, If you’re a stationery addict, or if you live with a stationery addict then this book is for you – get amongst it.

As an aside, in his introduction Ward mentions Present and Correct; “the most wonderful stationery shop in London” I am absolutley obsessed with their asthetic, their product and their customer service. If you have ever wanted to purchase the quirkiest most unusual, most perfect stationery gift then look no further.



sound bitten

In Book Reviews,Business / Self Help,Non Fiction,websites on March 4, 2018 by mrsdillemma Tagged: , ,

inkEarlier this year I responded to a shared Jordan Peterson You Tube video with the sentiment, “Oh, for fucks sake” ( I may have included a gif . . . ) This dragged me kicking and screaming into a debate about postmodernism, gender, feminism and consent. Yip, pretty heavy stuff. I was both fascinated and terrified by this obtuse character I had never heard of – He was being painted as one of the most influential public intellectuals in the English-speaking world. A once obscure psychologist and universtity professor he is beloved by the alt-right and has given voice to the conservative silent majority.

His opinions cover every facet of modern culture and he has managed to package his wide ranging theories into bite sized sound bites – enough to grab a wide audiences attention. He has 886,000 you tube subscribers and 43,148,271 views across 275 uploads.

Now, the real reason Im writing this, he’s written a book. ( ) I really want to say I’ve read it and I can offer an only slightly biased review and move on. But I can’t bring myself to buy the goddam book. I’ve read a lot of reviews; both the salt of the earth goodreads rants & the more academic journalistic pieces, both positive and negative but no-one can convince me a) I’m gonna love or b) I’m gonna hate it. I’m not really mad that Peterson is writing books, I’m mad that such a book is getting so much attention and here I am contributing to that. . . .


feminism wrapped in a glittery pink bow? #nothanks

In Book Reviews,Business / Self Help,CannonballReadX 2018,Feminism,Non Fiction,websites on January 20, 2018 by mrsdillemma Tagged:

CBR10.1At a time when gender politics are making headlines in every major newspaper every day Feminist Fight Club should be a must read, but I’m not so sure it is.

Bennett’s fight is against the patriarchal construct not against individuals but what that then does is reduce her ability to discuss topics that are really at the heart of workplace sexism; sexual harassment and pay disparity. Neither topic gets but the  briefest of mentions.

Bennett states that the Feminist Fight Club is about creating a more egalitarian environment for everyone and that is that stead she has created a set of tactics to fight workplace sexism – sometimes they are just good old fashioned common sense and sometimes they are more complex. One upside to the way she writes is that the book is a collection of vignettes that have no real connecting narrative thread so you can read the chapters in no particular order.

Feminist Fight Club is infuriating, at times its laugh out loud funny and full of what I call mantra gems – those things you’re supposed to say to yourself in the mirror first thing in the morning. . . but Bennett is writing for the buzzfeed generation, her turn of phrase and creativity with the English language is at times overtly stereotypical, she has created a millennial feminist slang that really doesn’t need to exist. The Feminist Fight Club is trying to be Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In for those just starting out.

You might find its tactics useful and relevant but they might not be – at a pinch, what it can do is open your eyes to the implicit, insidious and downright ugly behaviour we, as women, have ignored for too long.

Bennett’s content is aimed squarely at her target audience, the 20-30 something female that may not have been enticed by Lean In. It attempts to counter the Business Books are boring adage by engaging through quizzes, humour, illustrations and lists – but by packaging her ideas in the literary equivalent of a pink princess dress she pretty much lost me.

Reading Feminist Fight Club should have been a joy but it wasn’t but Bennett has made me rethink my interactions and check myself, and I guess for that I’m thankful – but tied up in a pretty pink glittery bow. No thanks. 


There’s a whole lotta learning goin on. . .

In Tertiary Education,websites on September 13, 2013 by mrsdillemma

Recently I delved into the possibility that my brain was turning to mush and decided to do something about it.

I always loved being a student, I was the consummate researcher and dove headfirst into an assignment or research project like my life depended on it – I guess I missed that, so, I enrolled in an online MOOC; a Massive Open Online Course. The purpose of a MOOC is to learn through a multitude of different media channels, trading blackboards and chalk for digital tools that foster collaboration and interactive learning. MOOC’s are currently offered by a number of different providers; Coursera  ( ) and edX ( ) to name just a couple, they are bringing content from the worlds most prestigious universities to people anywhere there is an internet connection. Courses offered cover a broad range from Archeology through to Zoology.

I choose one through the Standford led provider –  Coursera and eagerly awaited the rapidly approaching start date. I stuck with a topic and time period I knew and loved; The Ancient Greeks. The course was outstanding… the exact remedy to my malaise.

Participating in a MOOC ( for free ) challenged me in different ways to what we would consider ‘normal’ study – time management is utterly key, the ability to just focus on the readings provided and not delve further was challenging for a research geek like me and the ability to re-sit a weekly quiz without penalty was frustrating. . . .

But it also got me thinking about tertiary education as a whole and how our institutions will have to adapt, change and transform themselves to keep up with technology and how we use it. Are the blackboard lectures we insist our students attend really vital? Can they be streamed online? Can tutorials be replaced by Google Hangouts? or is the conversation created by face to face communication so vital to our education system that we can’t do without it?

I hope we can find a middle ground that satisfies the need to keep students on campus, involved in university life and the digital separation MOOC’s can create. In a university city the discussion becomes much easier but in the rural heartland of New Zealand, outback Australia or a tiny tropical paradise the equation changes. I would like to see the same courses offered to these two disparate groups of students, and perhaps MOOCs offer an opportunity that each and every university should embrace and consider at each and every opportunity.

In 2013 where will online education go?  Will Universities consider the opportunities MOOCs offer – I think we will start to see the development of credit applicable MOOC’s and the creation of the powerful collaborative hybrid course – part MOOC, part face to face.

These are questions that I don’t have answers to but I am so pleased that we are in a situation that we can even ask them.

I have completed another course since and start my third next week, and I can’t wait. bring it on.





Mad Men?

In Book Reviews,websites,what i'm reading now. . . on June 17, 2012 by mrsdillemma

Mad Men Unbuttoned: A romp through 1960s America by Natasha Vargas – Cooper

I am a huge Mad Men fan, but I’m more of a fan of that time period, the attitudes to sex, to race, to marriage, the social conventions, the fashion, need I go on – the man on the moon, Kennedy’s assassination, the civil rights movement.

Each snippet lets you into the secrets of the world at that time and makes you want to both read more and then watch more – it just never gets old.

I don’t read a heck of a lot of non fiction but I’m not so sure Vargas – Cooper does an outstanding job, the ideas are awesome, the theory and background fascinating but the way she puts it together just seems like a collection of mini discussion points about related topics collated into chapters.

Its worth reading for the research but not as a cohesive whole. As a study of society in the sixties in relation to the characters in Man Men it sort of works, but, one of the most glaringly obvious omissions, is the lack of images / screen shots from the outstanding Lionsgate / AMC TV series. I suspect that the book was an ‘unauthorised’ addition to the information pool.

Having said all of that, Vargas – Cooper’s website is outstanding and a must visit if you’re a Mad Men fan;