Tash Turgoose


Tash Turgoose

"She turned to the sunlight, and shook her yellow head, and whispered to her neighbour, Winter is dead."
— A. A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

The strange thing about dreams coming true is that it starts to make you think differently — if I can do this, what else can I do? All of those crazy, far off, wonderful dreams... can I make them happen too? It makes dreams seem a little less scary, a little less crazy, a little more obtainable. 

One of those dreams has been to build this blog into something special — an online journal, filled with content that falls somewhere between the likes of National Geographic and Harper's Bazaar, filled with essays and interviews, features and reviews, adventures and animals and lifestyle and books. But, not just words — photography, illustrations and scrapbook diary-entry type journal entries. Something special, something different. An exhaustive account of the beauty of life. 

I've always been strangely reluctant to begin, though. Everything on the internet screams of over saturation, there are so many damn blogs out there, why bother? How can I launch something when the field is already full of people killing it? It seems too damn ambitious, even for me. But, 
we rarely apply that same logic to physical industries — we don't stop writing books because Stephen King and J.K. Rowling dominate the market. So, this is it, I'm doing it, I'm all in. 

Tash Turgoose


Tash Turgoose Makeshift Galaxy

Next week, I'll share the full story on the creation of my little book... but in the meantime, as the craziness ensues, I would love for you to check it out! 

Makeshift Galaxy is available in the following places (clickable links) —
 Signed, right here on my website. ☾
☾ Book Depository ☾
☾ Amazon ☾
& wherever books are sold!
Request Makeshift Galaxy in your local bookstores today. :) 

Tash x

The Shell Collector

(c) Tash Turgoose

—   R E V I E W   —

"Every six hours the tides plowed shelves of beauty onto the beaches of the world, and here he was, able to walk out into it, thrust his hands into it, spin a piece of it between his fingers. To gather up seashells - each one in amazement - to know their names, to drop them into a bucket: this was what filled his life, what overfilled it."

I've figured it out. I know where this obsession is coming from. 
Anthony Doerr is the David Attenborough of the literary world.

Given my Attenborough love affair, this is a big, big call, I know, but read just a page or two, and you'll get it. Doerr's stories are a love affair with nature, laden with detail and fact in equal portions – like an Attenborough documentary type journey, making you fall in the love with the beauty of the world, and teaching you about it along the way. I can't imagine how long Doerr spends researching each story, but it's so worthwhile - knowledge seeps from every page in the most beautiful way.

The Shell Collector is the first in Doerr's short story collective, his debut book, also called The Shell Collector. So far, I've only read this story, but there are eight in total... so plenty more reviews (and illustrations!) to come! The Shell Collector tells the story of a blind malacologist (shell scientist) living on a tiny island in Kenya, studying shells whilst collecting them for a mainland museum. Each day he wades out onto the shallow reef and searches the corals with his fingertips, almost instantly identifying his finds by touch. The richness in Doerr's language means you feel the ridges, valleys, swirls of the shells alongside the protagonist as he collects... 
Along the way, there is love, heartbreak and miracles — it's a quick read, coming in at 35 pages, but a powerful one. 

Another wonderful thing about Doerr's writing is the Easter eggs — in The Shell Collector you can see the footprints leading to All The Light We Cannot See. Both title characters are blind, and just as The Shell Collector studies shells, Marie-Laure would spend her days in the shell sections of The Museum of Natural History, running her fingers over the grooves and twists... 

So, the Doerr love continues... 
I've acquired all but one of his books now (Memory Wall, I'm coming for you), and am slowing working my way through them. Damn, if I can write even HALF this good one day, I'll be content. With each review, I'll be creating illustrations to go along with them, too. 

Follow my socials to stay updated for when new reviews come out! 
I'm @TashTurgoose on everything. :) 

'til next time x




—   R E V I E W   —


"What mazes there are in this world. The branches of trees, the filigree of roots, the matrix of crystals, the streets her father recreated in his models... 
None more complicated than the human brain, Etienne would say, what may be the most complex object in existence; one wet kilogram within with spin universes."

Oh, this book.
This beautiful, heartbreaking, perfect book. 

I picked up All The Light We Cannot See in the midst of a Doerr frenzy. A chance encounter in a Melbourne bookstore, where I found his travel memoir Four Seasons in Rome, and I'm hooked. There's just something about the way he writes, like he sees every single detail that the world has to offer, and has researched this Earth so meticulously, with such love, that his books become a love letter to nature, history, science... 

All The Light kicks off in WWII Europe, following the soon-to-be interwoven threads of Parisian girl Marie-Laure LeBlanc, and German orphan Werner Pfennig. Now, I think it's the intricacies, the tiny details, that make this book so moving. Werner loves science, and spends his days playing with the wires of radios, and his nights listening to forbidden broadcasts from across the continent. This spurs his story in more ways than one, landing him in the Hitler Youth and chasing memories from his past. 

Marie-Laure is blind, but that doesn't stop her love for the world around her. Her father, Daniel, is a wood worker, and a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History. Marie-Laure spends her days in its halls, feeling her way through the molluscs, befriending an old scientist and learning from his works. She's mostly uninhibited by her blindness, due to her father incredible works, crafting precise models of the towns they live, so she can learn her way with her fingers, and then with her feet. 

Sometimes, there is so much detail, is seems quite heavy, but as every one of those details pulls together in the second half of the book, you'll feel a strange sense of nostalgia, and pride for having followed the threads. 

More often than not, my heart ached. It's one of the first books to ever make me gasp out loud, and feels as though I'd lost a friend. I was so deep in Doerr's world that a voice from the other side of my room would make me jump. I was there, feeling my way through the streets of Paris, fiddling with the wires of transceivers, desperately breaking open tins of precious food, hiding in secret places, rebelling through the radio waves. 

All The Light We Cannot see is historical fiction at its very best, it doesn't retell WWII occurrences like the echo of a textbook, is seamlessly weaves fact into beautiful, haunting fiction. 

I'd recommend reading his memoir Four Seasons in Rome before you read this, though. It's not a necessity, by any means, but the memoir follows a year in Rome, as he begins to write All The Light. He wrestles to find inspiration for the novel while in a city spilling with so many more stories, and having read those intimate thoughts, and then the book from which is spurred, you feel a little more connected to it, as if Doerr is a friend to whom you spoke as he wrote, and now you get to read the finished piece. 

Whatever you do, read something of Doerr's. 
You must, it's a treat for your soul. All The Light We Cannot See is haunting, heartbreaking, but above all, beautiful. 



Tash Turgoose Bruges

It's hard to pinpoint where to start with Bruges — it all feels like a dream, a daze, a fairytale land — a Wes Anderson x Disney theme park, a perfect, quirky village shaped mirage. Perhaps I slipped into a dream state

Tash Turgoose Bruges

on the train? Never truly woke up, until the train looped back around to London, 36 hours later? That's what it felt like, at least, and not just for the surroundings. Everything about the place is surreal. 

I arrived by train from sweet Paree, just after midnight. After spending most of my life in Australia, something seems so magical about being able to step on a train in one country, and jump off in another, just a few hours later. Back home it takes almost as long to get to the closest major city. Perhaps that's where the dream began, racing down the tracks at 200 km/ph, cutting through the darkness, travelling in a portal from one country to the next. There was no conductor or guard, and the carriage was all but empty, save a few serious looking business men and a mother and child. Once we crossed the border from France to Belgium, all of the announcements switched to a different language, one I didn't recognise, and I guessed it must be Dutch — there was no moon in the sky and hardly any lights outside the windows, and I had no idea where I was. Hurtling through the dark in a place I didn't know, where I didn't speak even a little of the language, I panicked a little. Surely, surely I would recognise when the driver announced Bruges, right? One of the aforementioned businessmen spotted my panic, and asked where I was heading, in French, and then English — Bruges, I said, and he said he was too, so he would show me when to leave the train. Good job, it turns out, as the announcement seemingly didn't include the name 'Bruges'. 

Outside the train station, men yielding chainsaws and picks worked through the night, preparing ice sculptures for an upcoming snow festival, beginning just days later. I looked around for a taxi, but there were none in site, and no one to ask. There was, however, a charming young Dutch boy, waiting by a horse and cart. "Into Bruges?" he shouted, and I blinked at him, confused.  Ice sculptors, horse carts and a cobbled station car park? What is this place?

Tash Turgoose Bruges

"There is no taxi this late, we are the taxi!" The boy signalled to his horse - "How much?" "Same as a taxi, miss, 7 euros." - and that was it.  He hoisted my giant, bursting backpack onto the carriage, then helped me up, and the fairytale started to unfold. What better start to this beautiful side trip, than hooves on the cobblestones, carrying me to my next adventure?



The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas [Illustrated Edition]



For the past few months, I've had a total obsession with illustrated books. It started at university, in a class devoted to them and their creation, and just ballooned to a point where I have my own illustrated book coming out in three months time! Eep!

So, when I found out that one of my favourite books, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, was being released as an illustrated book to honour it's 10th year anniversary, I HAD to have it... and I was NOT disappointed. Author John Boyne joined up with his friend, illustrator Oliver Jeffers to create a beautiful, understated book that I am totally in love with. 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Illustrated Edition

The illustrations are simple, yet brimming with emotion. Only three colours are used throughout the book - black (or shades of), blue and red. One of Bruno's shirts is highlighted throughout the book, as the only blue piece of clothing, and becomes incredibly significant at the end of the story. Those who have read the book (or seen the movie) know what I mean... 


It's an important story, highlighting the dualities of the Nazi era, made even more powerful by the child's perspective. Bruno refers to Hitler as 'The Fury', and thinks that 'Heil Hitler' is another way of saying goodbye, have a good day. It starts by playing with your heart a little, giving you all the feels along the way, and then all of a sudden, the end just grab your heart, tears it in half, and sets it on fire. You've been warned. 

All in all, it's a beautiful story, and the illustrations make it even better.    >> ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ <<


Follow me on Goodreads to stay up to date with my reading & reviews : goodreads.com/tashturgoose



It's exactly as you imagine it.
The smells, the colours, the sights, the sounds. 
Street hawkers swoop the second they see you -- Would you like a postcard, a souvenir, a cartouche, a mint tea, lanterns, rugs, keychains, spices, wallets...? Please, special price, just for you! 

There's a medieval feel about the place, with the beautiful old stone buildings, cobbled streets and labyrinth-like layout. Gates seperate different parts of the souk, which used to signal the change in wares, once upon a time when the markets were divided into sections of gold, silver, leather, brass and foods. It's almost as if you've stepped back in time to an ancient Cairo - shops display bags and buckets overflowing with spices, with their wares hung from the walls and sprawled about the streets.


In the past, before the revolution, Khan El Khalili was often painted as somewhat of an unsavoury place to visit - it was too busy, the hawkers were too persistent and it was the perfect setting for pickpocketing - but now, the streets are empty. The shopkeepers play backgammon and smoke shisha, greeting you as you enter their store, but not hassling. Some hang from their doors, and joke with you as you pass - I have the greatest gold chains in the whole of Egypt! You must buy one for all of your friends at home! Or, your friends will like you more if you take souvenirs home! I have them all in my shop, come and see! But most of all, the traders thank you. They thank you for visiting Egypt in a time when most don't dare - they thank you for recognising that it is safe again, and that it's time for the tourists to return. Tourism is the number one industry in Egypt, and most people rely on it to live, yet no one visits since the revolution, despite the violence being over. In most places we had the streets, temples and tombs to ourselves, save the locals - a wonderful, yet heartbreaking experience. 


What struck me most of all was the way in which the bizarre was so colourful, yet so grey at the same time. Everything seemed slightly dulled by the dust and the hovering smog, but it was still vibrant and full of life. Once the sun disappeared, however, the grey seemed to fade, and the colours and lights took centre stage. It was like the movies. We lazed at a cafe, watching the streets come to life, and the stone buildings turn orange from the lanterns, which seemed to be everywhere. We drank mint tea and tried our first shisha, as hawkers came by our table one by one, trying to spruik their goods. Bizarrely, I think the smell I'll remember most from Egypt is apple smoke, drifting from the shisha's in every cafe, on almost every street...
Walk the streets with me in pictures, through the photo journal below. ✨


If you loved this journal, please let me know in the comments!
& don't forget to sign up for my newsletter below. x