Diary: Input/Output


I feel pretty rejuvenated this week. Somewhere between obsessively reading The Hunger Games and organising lists and things I have found all the excitement I have ever had for journalling and painting and sticking everything together. Last week I was talking about the unease of feeling all the feelings when reading a book, but this time they are all in the right place. I am sad and shocked and hopeful in all the little places in Katniss' story, and I have all the dread of reading a story full of terrible things, but none of it feels like aimless emotion with nowhere to go. And I realise that these books are letting me have my feelings, and that the book I was reading before was not letting me have my feelings. It was building them up without giving me anywhere to put them. Now I have a nice little shelf for them.


So The Hunger Games is my life at the moment, but with it comes a fierce need to consume and create. The effects of a good book can be intense. I've decided to try keeping up a steady stream of input and output. That sounds really mathematical or mechanical. You can't know for sure I'm not a robot. What I mean is that I'm trying to keep to a schedule. I've been watching one movie a day, and one episode of an anime a day. I do it in the morning. I keep a browser open on one half of the screen and whatever I'm watching on the other half. Then I use the browser to do whatever I want to do online that isn't too involved. I rarely watch much anime, so I really wanted to give myself an anime routine to force it into my system a bit. One episode a day builds up a lot! At the moment I'm watching Charlotte.



It's funny though, I feel so inspired and bright. I've always liked statistics and progression in a video game kind of way with reading and listening to music and watching TV shows, so I guess adding to a list is something that can push me pretty far. After all, that's a big part of why I blog every day. I know every post is another one tacked onto the sum of all my posts so far. It feels important, like I'm constructing a building piece by piece. What is that? Why do I love that?

Red

I seem to have accidentally gathered a lot of red around myself. What does it mean? It's probably because I'm so passionate and love to shovel raspberries into my mouth all day long. Another accidental thing that I strongly enjoy, by the way, is when I type the word moth instead of mouth. That's good. Most sentences are better that way. All hail the moths (I hope you are absorbing this pro-moth propaganda from me, mothcub).


Really though, what is it about the colour red? It does feel powerful and important. Red makes me think of blood, and berries, and Captain Sensible's beret. You know, just integral life things.


My mum found some strawberries recently, reduced to 10p a punnet. We ate a lot of strawberries. It was the best. I am hoping for many more drastically reduced fruits in my life.


I think painting feels different depending on colour. Painting with red feels important and wild, planetary somehow, but simultaneously soft.


It's probably a good piece of trivia, the fact that I sleep on lines of red, scribbly hearts. If I had a Wikipedia page that would be the second piece of information, after the bit that tells you I like salmon and cream cheese bagels. Only the most important details. None of that useless birth and history info, just my sandwich and bagel preferences.


I want to build a cosy red castle and fill it with berries.



Achievements & Movements

Everything moves all the time for me, like a strobing river. In the back of my mind sit a thousand things I've done or said or thought, slowly shifting through and away, mutating into new buds of understanding and doing. I have little reminders everywhere of old things, the memories in my head of the things that have happened to an old me. Like that time when a worm urinated on me when I picked it up from the little plot of garden I shared with a small group of girls at middle school. Or that time where I poured every possible thought I had out onto scraps of not-as-well-organised-as-they-should-be paper to be graded on my thought processes for uni. Or the time that the best person in the world sat on my glasses and broke them with his big bum.

A collage of old notebook pages. I was practising drawing legs.

I have a note from my high school English teacher which references postmen and a poem called 'Vultures' and I have only the vaguest recollection of what those references mean. Not that they are important, but it's weird. So many things have happened. So many heartbeats and breaths. So many thoughts and decisions. And I don't care if I remember most of them.

My review process has picked out some of the best memories. My real achievements. Here are a collection of them (although some get to stay in my head):

  1. A particular August moon, and stars, and rain, and grass stains, and shivering, and darkness.
  2. The years long build up to tapping out thoughts and feelings here and creating little streams and watching them flow (and my endless love of river metaphors).
  3. Writing pencil notes in a detective book I took from a Wetherspoons after learning a secret.
  4. Making watercolours of webcam pictures in brown, pink, orange, and yellow (three years ago).
  5. Remembering to forget.

Sylvanian Families Notebook


I was super excited to receive this notebook as part of my Sylvanian Families package, and even more excited to use it. It has beautiful pink borders around its pages and it also has colouring pages inside the cover and a generous page of stickers. I wish every notebook came with stickers.


I don't often do colouring, so that was a nice way to start things off. I stuck to reasonably correct colour choices because I felt that it was important to try to do it properly in this particular instance. It is therapeutic to colour in, but I tend to prefer drawing.


I didn't use any of the stickers, but I did draw on the back of the sticker sheet like the dangerous rebel I am, and then I used a stencil to draw one of the chocolate rabbits and made a colourful list of nice things. This notebook kinda made me feel like I should do very sweet and wholesome things. I feel like sometimes I must come across as overly cutesy online, but I care a lot about all these sorts of sweet things and the wonder of the natural world and cute kittens and all that, y'know, it's an earnest sensitivity and appreciation. I am the type of person who cries over (literal) spilt milk sometimes too, and that's okay.


Then I just did some simple drawings with a bit of scribbling. By now I was in a bit of a daze. It was nice to feel like even more of a small child than usual drawing stuff in this little notebook that really feels like (and is) something made for a little kid. I'm grown up and I do what I want. Including spilling milk. Actually I never want to do that, but I could if I wanted to.


Memento


No matter what, I always end up building up a little box of memories - full of toys and pictures and bracelets and stuff. So many little things keep sailing into my life with little stories and feelings attached, and I keep them in a little place all together. Except that really, they drift outwards into all the spaces. They make homes inside my bag or clip onto the straps. They nestle into spaces in drawers or in little nooks on my bookcase. Little things everywhere, like stars.


It's nice to have physical manifestations of little memories and points in time and space, but I think it's even nicer to have them drifting all around you like confetti. It's nice to know things are there to keep you remembering, but at the same time it's nice to know that really the memories are all around you. Everything around you holds a part of you. The trees, the clouds, the air. All of it is storing up parts of you and pressing switches in your attic (brain) so you can remember stories or colours or just the smell of them. So don't worry about your memories, or your things, or your thing-memory combinations, because everything is just seeping into everything else anyway. You are all these things, and they are all of you.


Your mementos are in the sky, and the sky is your memento.

My 5 Favourite Japanese Films

I featured one Japanese film in my previous post detailing 'My 10 Favourite Films', but I have a more dedicated list of Japanese films to share, which I thought deserved its own post, so here goes.


1. The Happiness of the Katakuris


This is a murder musical with the odd bit of claymation. A family own an inn. Bad things happen. They sing about it. It's great, The bits with Richard Sagawa (pictured above) are my favourites.


2. April Bride


This film is about a blossoming relationship and breast cancer. It was beautiful. I cried my butt off. Watch with caution.


3. GeGeGe no Kitarō


A 2007 live action film based on the popular 1960s manga of the same name, Kitaro is a goofy story about various supernatural characters. There's a 2008 sequel which is fun too. Eiji Wentz's wig in either film is not good.


4. L: Change The World


I thought this L-based spin off was much better than the Death Note film, but then again I just love L, so you know. He's looking after kids and eating chocolate. I've forgotten the rest of the plot, but that's all you need to know.


5. The Grudge


Sorry to be super obvious but I have watched this film so many times and every time I love it, so I had to include it even though it's got to be one of the most well known Japanese films in existence. I have to say I am a big fan of this style of horror movie. I like the way the ghosts' stories unfold in this as well as the Ring series, Dark Water, and lots of others, but The Grudge is a particularly well contained story. I kinda wanna watch it now, actually.

Other interesting Japanese films include Uzumaki (I wrote a review on it here - the film is worth a watch, but the manga is much better), Hausu, and The Taste of Tea (I haven't finished watching this one, but it's really cool and involves an apparition of a little girl's giant head).

Blobs


Hey everyone, look, I've painted some blobs. I know, I know, I should call the president and ask him to look at my blobs because they are so beautiful. Thank you for saying such nice things about my blobs, but I don't think Obama has much time to be gazing upon them. He probably has some other, more important blobs to view.


I haven't really painted in a good while, so I think this was mostly a chance for me to re-familiarise myself with how it feels. My brain couldn't come up with a reasonable shape to form, so it was all blobs. Blobs are good though. They give the paint a chance to show off on colour and movement and stuff without having a purposeful shape. One of the pink blobs below kinda looks like the head of a kangaroo.


I guess a fun thing about carelessly painted blobs is that you can sometimes see shapes in them, like when you look at clouds and they look like dogs and angry people. They get to become an illustration of your mind a little bit.


I try to remind myself all the time that I don't have to be purposeful, in art-making and lots of things. I can just enjoy things. That's what the blobs remind me. I also started a new journal with a bit of painting. It's a bright red, lined Moleskine that I've had for years. I think this will be a journal I slowly finish and treat with some care, but for me 'some care' is still not that much.
Here's the inner cover:


Diary: Badminton Elbow & Media Consumption


So apparently this week I've been thinking a lot about books and how I read them and react to them and things. I'm definitely sensitive to certain media and certain types of stories and scenarios and I guess I wanted to analyse that and different responses and/or solutions. Sometimes I feel overly vulnerable because of emotional reactions I have to fictional things, but I have to remember that fiction is supposed to make me feel something. I don't have to react the same way as other people do and I am almost definitely not the only person having my reaction.

This was mostly prompted by some things I found frustrating and upsetting in The Wise Man's Fear, the second book in Patrick Rothfuss' unfinished fantasy trilogy (the first of which I reviewed here). It was good to think about my insecurities and whether or not my emotional responses to fictional worlds and events on a wider scale is a problem, though, and to remind myself that yes, it's okay to feel sad about sad things in books. I don't have to feel a certain way and I don't have to engage with things that I suspect could provoke a painful response.


In happier and less introspective book news, I've finally started reading The Hunger Games. So far I really like it. I love the quick unfurling of the setting and so many little details about Katniss. I don't know if I've ever read a book where a girl's armpit hair was specifically referred to before, but I really liked that detail. I'm quite excited to read through the whole series and then watch the films. It's a lot of fun to swoop in on a popular series you've managed to accidentally evade for ages. Its popularity means I already know some spoilers, but I don't mind. I don't find that spoilers ruin things for me, and in some cases I actually prefer to be spoiled before I read or watch something.



Aside from books, my week has consisted of some delightful food happenings (strawberry punnets reduced to 10p, mint chocolate chip ice creams, and two beautiful scotch eggs with a side of purple coleslaw and baby gherkins), a fun game of badminton, and a bit of collaging. Elliot and I played badminton on Saturday even though it was pretty windy, so the shuttlecock kept trying to flee for outer space. We had aching arms the day after, but it was the best.

Here's something I drew in my red Moleskine journal yesterday:


I feel like doing lots of biro drawings and ominous, spindly clouds. We'll see.

Flowerfog: A Short Story Collection

Over the past few years I have accumulated lots of short stories and beginnings of short stories and snippets of prose, most of which has been figuratively collecting dust in digital storage. I have really wanted to compile a selection of short stories for a long time, and although these are in various states in terms of completeness or feel, I think it's time I let them be out here now. I've been holding onto them, hoping to perfect them or make them something bigger, but I just want to let them exist as they are now. Hopefully 'letting them go' in some sense can spur me on to write new things, and if I want to extend on a previously written thing, there's nothing to stop me. It's good to let go of the things I've made/written/drawn and focus on the new stuff. It's important to me to know that if I lost all of my past work, I'd still be able to make new and better things.


Without further preamble, here are some stories.


Bird Children


The light was strobing sweetly, painting strips of raspberry on the cavern walls. Forget-me-not was dazed. She moved gently amongst the beams, her face lit the colour of her heart. She held her hands above her. Her fingers were coated with caramelised cherry. She frequently had altercations with cherry pies. They were never clean. She dreamt of a messy kitchen with a sun bleached wheat field behind it, or a dream garden bursting with blackberry bushes. In this dream little robins would bob across twigs, pleasing themselves with blackberry treasure. Little bird princes.

She collected bird children in her dreams. Each dream was almost the same. She’d rest her head on her pillow, gently breathing, noting the faint smells of her bedding. Curling her bedcovers around her legs. Then she would think of the castle. Every night since she could remember she’d fantasised about a castle before drifting off to sleep. It was a milky coloured castle with tall, thin turrets and vast, curving windows. A forest sprawled out into the distance beyond. A tiny white dove with golden eyes perched at the topmost point and looked out across the forest. Inside the castle a translucent young man would make toast - sometimes crumpets - and coat his efforts with homemade jam. His fingertips were perpetually stained from his jam-making. He was like a ghost, carrying out one very delicious task over and over. Forget-me-not imagined this jam-maker falling asleep as she did, their bodies twinned in grooves, their eyelids flickering in synthesis.


Little Peter Pans


Two little boys sat under their bush, each around three inches tall with green blood lit flush against their white-yellow cheeks. Their names were Toma and Kish. Toma was just a little taller, a little older (precisely six minutes and twenty seven seconds older than Kish), and a little quieter. Kish was wide eyed and kept touching his light moss green nose against various discovered items. The boys both had messy white hair in little mushroomy curves on top of their heads. They lived inside a blackberry bush and in summer blood colours ran in streams across the dry dirt ground of their bedrooms.


Ghost Vegetables


Mr Carnaby was well known amongst all the old white people in the neighbourhood who were obsessed with bees and fruit tea. He was nice enough, his dentures glistening in the sunlight of the allotment and his liver spots and old man freckles painting a celestial wonder across his face and neck. He always bought an excessive amount of peppers at the supermarket, especially if they were on sale, and later on in the month he would find a collection of no longer edible peppers awaiting him in the kitchen. It was lucky, then, that Mr. Carnaby was a verifiable composting fiend.

Mr. Carnaby collected his sad, soiled vegetables and dumped them into a bucket to transport to the allotment. He looked down at them with mild regret, but in a few weeks the same fate would inevitably befall his next batch of unnecessarily purchased peppers. Once at his precious allotment, he dumped the vegetable waste into one of six generous compost bins. He chuckled to himself, pleased by the endless circle of growth and decay possessed by the natural world. It comforted him to know that the death of organic matter fed the blossoming of new life. Mr. Carnaby set about turning the soil around his lavender.

A week later, on a lazy Sunday, Mr Carnaby sat fiddling with an old camera, remembering taking a picture of his wife’s bum some thirty years earlier while she ate a croissant and farted. Those were the days. Mrs Carnaby would be out looking at dog figurines and pining for them, he imagined, as that was her latest desperate interest. Mr Carnaby pocketed his camera and packed his pile of old teabags into a vegetable waste bag before heading up to the allotment. Once there, he added his teabags to the compost and took his camera out to photograph his vegetable-growing progress from several angles.

When the film was developed, Mr Carnaby gleefully showed his wife the pictures. His marrow had grown big by now, but in the photos it was still a marrow toddler.
‘Isn’t it lovely?’ He said.
’Yes,’ his wife replied, ‘but what are those white splodges?’
Mr Carnaby examined the photo. There were faint white marks all over it. Checking the other prints, he noticed the marks on every photo.
‘Must be some sort of development issue.’ He said.

Back on the allotment a few weeks later, Mr Carnaby poured another bucket of sprouting potatoes and soft old peppers into a compost bin, enjoying the sound of the vegetables as they tumbled downwards. He lingered with the lid held up to inspect his compost, when a sudden chill hit him in the face, as if a little snowball had come at him. He spluttered and took a step back, and the lid made a plasticky clattering sound as it dropped back into place. The chill faded quickly, but it was a shock. Mr Carnaby breathed gently and looked around. There was nothing to be seen, just an empty allotment. Then he felt the chill again like an ice cube held against his ear. Suddenly a bright white appeared. A little sphere of white bobbed along in front of him, and then more of them came. About a dozen spheres of white closed in on Mr Carnaby, but he realised as they approached him that they weren’t spheres. They were shaped like peppers.

‘Hi mate.’ Said the floating white pepper heading the group as they came within inches of Mr Carnaby’s face.
‘Listen, you need to stop buying peppers you don’t need at the supermarket just because they’re on offer and then never eating them.’
‘Yeah!’ Chimed in a smaller, squeakier pepper.
Mr Carnaby stared at the peppers with a look of utter confusion. He heard someone clearing their throat to his right, and turned to see a mass of translucent, white vegetables of all kinds. They looked somehow very angry. Mr Carnaby fainted on seeing a floating, white version of a very memorable, phallic carrot he had thrown into the compost three months ago.

After that day, Mr Carnaby made sure that no vegetable ever went uneaten under his roof.


Furby


You gave me a Furby that day in 1997, and it spoke in long slow drawls like it was dying and inventing jazz at the same time. It was just like you, terrifying and plastic. When you touch my face I feel like I’m being put inside a bin bag. The rustling of the plastic on my skin is uncomfortable. You are like the last dregs of a once hot drink, congealing in a cold mug. You are disgusting and I want you inside my eyes and veins. Old milk in my throat and lungs. I will sear my skin on you, and turn everything into thick, viscous, mouldy slime.


A Small Child And A Strawberry


The little boy ran into the fields to have his usual thoughts about what sort of foreign policy he would go for if he was president of the United States, but then he noticed that there were some strawberries growing along the fence and got very distracted indeed! He thought red was quite a good colour and liked that post boxes were red. One time he had wanted to grow up to become a post box, but then he realised that would mean he'd have to carry a lot of things and he decided maybe it wasn't the best idea after all.

There were three very prominent strawberries he could see, so he went right up to all three of them and kissed them.
"That tickled!" said the third strawberry, giggling gently.
The boy grinned at the strawberry before picking her from the strawberry bush.
“Well that’s awfully rude!” exclaimed the strawberry, but quickly added that she didn’t mind as long as the boy took her down to Tesco and got her a copy of The Beano.

Later, after they had read The Beano together, they decided to make their own comic. The boy drew a boy character, and the strawberry said “you’ve got no imagination”, and then drew lots of strawberry characters. They were fast becoming good friends.

At school, the other children didn’t understand why the boy’s best friend was a strawberry, but he didn’t care. He was glad to have a different sort of friend to offer a different sort of perspective on life.


Snowflakes Are Boys Lying


Tears fall out of little boys quick and fast and they hide them in jars until they are tall with long legs like spiders when they can throw them in the tear well in the dead of night. Then no one ever knows they cried and they can sigh and mewl and be free, until the feeling creeps back and they have to cry and they are so confused because long legged spider boys were never supposed to cry in the books they read from when they were little babies and beyond. Then they have to go to the well again and if they bump into each other they freeze and they look like long legged spider snowflakes and the snowflakes leak and leak and leak because they tried to pretend for too long. That is why there are snowflakes around the well, even in summer when skin burns and eggs cook on the ground.


Got Your Nose


A baby boy challenged me to an intellectual duel in a dream. The winner would keep the loser’s nose, a strange trophy. The dream was shaky, as if it existed inside a fast-moving stream. It felt as if the air was flowing over me with added viscosity. Watery, gloopy air. The baby bested me with a strong showcase of literary semantics, and with rosy cheeks and a gleeful grin he took my nose. I slotted a small daisy into the smooth space left behind and watched the child quizzically as he ran away, clutching my nose tightly in his left hand.


Nigel


It was a tough day for old Nige. He had had a whole pint of Guinness and had cried into it a little bit. His tears made little ripples in the liquid and disappeared. It’s tough when your wife won’t make you a pie. Nigel had told Maureen it was his special pie day almost four hours in advance, and yet she had still not made him a delicious warm pie. The absent pie was thick and langouring in the room. Maureen sighed gently as the Midsomer Murders theme tune played. It was her favourite show, but she knew she wasn’t going to get to watch much of it today.

Nigel’s sobbing had been absorbed by his pint, but once he had finished it, there was nothing to soak up the anguish. Nigel burst. Maureen was used to pie and meat based tantrums from her husband of sixteen years, but this was a bit different as he had not just burst with pastry-focused emotion, but literally burst apart like a poorly made rag doll stuffed with sun dried tomatoes. Maureen looked stiffly at the splattering on her cream couch. The Dyson probably wouldn’t be enough to handle this one.


Princes


A prince, in some worlds, is just a rich boy with bad hair, but a prince - like almost any kind of person - comes in many forms. Perhaps you’ve heard someone saying that anyone can be a princess? There’s royals and gold and swimming pools and foreign policy and nightclubs and bad costume ideas, but there’s also kingdoms of all sorts. There’s the animal kingdom and ever-changing ideas about kingdoms. The kingdom of minerals. Perhaps even the kingdom of tiny red threads. A prince can be an abstract notion or a prince can be a puddle of luminescent liquid. A prince can be the stars, or the feeling you get when you remember a great memory. Prince has a certain meaning to certain people in linguistic terms, but linguistics by nature, are malleable Words are much more than just words, and a prince can be more than it seems.

Every ant keeping the colony moving is some kind of prince. Every leg that every ant propels forward is its own kind of prince to the ants, shuffling and perpetually traversing. Each leaf a prince, crowned in dirt and the best dinner 64 ants could ever hope for. Princes are everywhere, flapping about and sitting still and tasting delicious.

Overwhelm


I'm having one of those weird moments/days of overwhelm. I don't know what about, really, or what causes it, but I guess it's just a general overwhelmed feeling about being alive and stuff. It happens every so often and I don't usually get it too badly, but I guess there's some kind of a routine to it. I would say it sort of bubbles up, like I'm just a bit gently carbonated, at least once a month. It's an unnerving feeling. Like I'm not doing enough and like what I'm doing isn't enough and like I'm not BEING enough somehow. Like I am intrinsically not enough. Like everything is a try, an attempt that doesn't really go anywhere. Like when you try to run in water. Your legs feel like they're in slow motion. You just can't run.

I don't understand it, because it's not a useful feeling. It's just a pointless anxiety poking me in the stomach. What is it there for? Is it a goblin come to trade something for a hypothetical first born? And by the way, if you promise a goblin or other villain your first born and then never reproduce, do you win? Maybe that's what I should do then, metaphorically. Take my promise of something that will never exist, unpleasant feeling, and go away.

I know that I am fine, I know that I am happy with things I do and things I am, and I know that strawberries and sandwiches and birds exist. I know that I'm good at rearranging objects. I know that my hair is soft and that sunsets occur every day. I know that cleaning a dirty floor can be very satisfying. I know that I can walk and drink water, and that both feel refreshing. I know that there is endless music and endless time to discover it. I know that I have proved to myself that I am 'enough' a thousand times already. I know that I am more than trepidation and uncertainty and concern. I know that I am alive, and that is adequate.

Also, I have heart-shaped hair clips and drawings of cats, so that's something.







Super Evil


I can now proudly announce that I have filled up my Korilakkuma notepad (see previous posts 1 & 2), and although the contents of these final pages are less diverse, I have still maintained my careless process and very much enjoyed using them. Apparently in a strong need for a colour theme I used mostly pink and orange, the fruit salad/sunset colours.


It's honestly a bit sad to see this notepad finished so soon, so I think I might draw on single sheets of paper for a while and use notebooks in a bit more of a serious/thorough way for a while. Maybe. I mean I guess this is why I often use several different notebooks at a time, because I want to use them in different ways all the time and have different feelings and intentions when I use them.


Regardless of strange melancholy art feelings, it's been a fun endeavour in rapidness and colour and fun. I'd really like to get some more notebooks or sketchbooks or journals with coloured pages, because that's easily been my favourite part of this - that lovely pastel pink.

♡♡♡




Making Your Own Cocktail Without Dying


Cocktails are great things, but they always demand ingredients like the scent of a raven's despair or the eye of Hades and I am way too busy looking at important pictures of hedgehogs online to hunt those things down. I don't care how delicious a SLUGMURDER 5000 is, I just don't have the energy for the cocktail ingredients marathon.

What better way to avoid any effort whatsoever and yet still obtain a delicious fruity beverage, I thought, than making a cocktail myself? Now, this can go quite wrong and you can end up with a drink that tastes like Vernon Dursley on a bad day, but if you follow some general mixing rules it shouldn't be too bad.


Rule #1: Try to match sweet and harsh tastes somewhat equally. If you have vodka and orange juice as a base, it's good to pour in lots of orange juice so that the vodka is just coming through a bit but not overpowering everything. You want to avoid making a drink that tastes like nail polish, so be aware of the strength of your ingredients and try to balance them out. That's actually the only rule I can think of right now. It's pretty basic, but just try to be aware of your ingredients and what they taste like. Taste as you go.


I made my first experimental cocktail recently and it was surprisingly good - nice and fruity. I don't have recorded measurements for it, so it does vary in taste, but I will explain its make up anyway. Disclaimer: I don't really know what I'm doing, I just want a drink.

Ingredients: amaretto, brandy, Pimms Blackberry & Elderflower, mango juice (for this version I used apple and mango juice, but mango juice is better, there just wasn't any left this time).

I start with a small amount of brandy then add a substantial level of mango juice, then a little of the Pimms and a generous amount of amaretto. The brandy is the component to be careful of, but you can be pretty reckless with the amaretto because it's so sweet that too much of it won't ruin the taste. You want quite a lot of mango juice, but it's easy to put too much in because it's the fruit juice and it feels like it won't matter too much. It can though. I'd say just top up each ingredient slowly whilst tasting to finish. It needs a balance between the vanilla amaretto taste and the fruity mango. This cocktail might be better without some of the ingredients (I haven't tried that yet) but it was my first attempt at making a cocktail, so I wanted to go all out.


Cocktail-making doesn't have to be too confusing if you can balance things out, but if all else fails I strongly advise just drinking amaretto on its own (amaretto is my favourite).