4th of July

Stars & Stripes

On Saturday the fourth of July my buddy Jen and I headed to a party hosted by Three Mobile to celebrate the best of Americana and #makeitright by bringing the fun to East London. It was a pretty cool little shindig – each of us were given a new Samsung Galaxy S6 on arrival to have a play with.

Pop Corn

Bourbon Caramel Apple Pie

The phone itself, which was the reason for the season, is pretty nifty piece of technology – instead of having ‘letterbox banding’ – the screen was full length, and wrapped satisfyingly to the edge. If I hadn’t just upgraded my own phone, I probably would be very easily seduced by the 16 megapixel camera.


After a round of snacks, we were introduced to three ‘fun’ games to play at your next American themed party (Thanksgiving perhaps?):

  • Beer pong. This was a fail for both my teetotal and uncoordinated states of being. Jen and I took around half an hour to get the party going. Stars & stripes rating: 5/10.

Beer pong

  • The Saltine challenge. The premise is simple – take six of these salty little crackers, and try to eat them all in less than a minute.  MY technique of shoving them all in at once proved to be  non-starter, as my mouth became dryer than the Mojave. As I wiggled my tongue around to produce more saliva, even more crumbs of dry carbohydrate dust got stuck to the roof of my mouth. Most unpleasant, however we both finished with a semi respectable time of 1.55 each. Stars & stripes rating:  2/10.

Saltine Challenge

  • Flip cup. I hadn’t heard of this before, but it’s excellent. It’s like a Mexican Wave of drinking then, flipping your plastic cup to land rim side down. Harder than it sounds. Race in teams of two, up one side and back down the other. Stars & stripes rating:  9/10.

All in all, a good evening. Jen and I strolled merrily into the remainder of the summer evening (after taking our very first selfie stick photo with the one from our goodie bag) – and ended up meeting an old friend of hers who was on his way to a party. We gave him a selfie stick to take with him – one has to share the love,  right?

Amber & Jen

(This girl is about to move to Australia, I am going to miss her so much!)


I am a bookish girl, and nothing pleases me more than libraries, notes in margins and the smell of binding glue. But recently I was given the super lovely gift of a Kindle (thanks Ma & Pa!) – and now I’m a convert.


{My Kindle, snug in its blue case – the device itself  powers a light in the case!}

Why I love my Kindle:

  • All the hits, for free. I HEART HEART HEART that most of the classics are available for free. Doing some top-level math, the cost of a kindle would be covered by just a tiny stack of Penguin Classics. So far I’ve read Pride & Prejudice, Little Women and Anna Karenina, without trotting down to the library.
  • Space (and back) saving. It lets me cut down on the space required to store my belongings. Currently most of my possessions is books… and moving house is painful. Books are heavy! With the Kindle I can store hundreds in my satchel.
  • DIY magazines. You can push long articles from the web to your Kindle to read later as a separate ”book”. A Chrome extension gives you this ability with just a click. I am looking forward to making my own awesome magazines to read on flights and more.
  • Freedom to connect. I got the 3G model, which seems superfluous in the age of wi-fi. But should I ever make it to the backwaters of Borneo again, I’ll never spend hours searching for an internet café. A 3G Kindle will let me check email and the web (albeit slowly) from anywhere on the planet.


Books I have lined up to read:

  • Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox. I did a few anthropology papers at university and loved them, so I ordered this book for a bit of nostalgia. Social anthropology starts at home for Fox; rather than trot off to the Amazon, she looked at her own tribe.
  • Here She Comes Now (3 short stories) by Chad Taylor. ‘Here She Comes Now’ is a collection short stories about modern relationships and family tensions, with a focus on dialogue. The author’s 2004 novel, Electric is one of my favourite New Zealand books.
  • Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. A productivity guide aimed at writers, based around the Art Of War. How could I resist?
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith. Just Kids chronicles Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe’s time in New York before they found fame. I’m sure many of you have read this already and you’ll agree, it’s captivating. I am half way through it already and I don’t want it to end.
  • The Wasp Factory: A Novel by Iain Banks. I have read some of the science fiction, and rather like his 2003 novel Dead Air. A friend recommend this book to me as “life changing”, and I can’t think of higher praise than that.

I think at this stage the Kindle and I are entering into a long-term relationship, but if I fall in love with a book, or appreciate its design aesthetic, I’ll probably buy a hard copy. Or should I happen to drift into a second-hand bookstore, I’m sure I’ll emerge with a bag full of new-to-me books.