2015, you big weirdo

So it’s July. And I haven’t been around these parts much. Last week, Selina reminded me that I actually had a blog and that I should do something with it. But as my love F Scott Fitzgerald once said; You don’t write because you want to say something. You write because you have something to say.

This year has been a funny one and I haven’t made up mind about whether I like it yet. I mean, I always love life. But have I liked it lately? I’m not sure.

January was terrifying. One of the most important people in my world had a health scare that made me feel like the tectonic plates were shifting beneath my feet. I experienced what it was like to feel real fear. Fear that made me dread getting out of bed every day because outside my door lay the potential horror of bad news I wouldn’t be able to unhear. By some miracle, everything in the end, was sort of ok. Not perfect, but ok. And as always, these kind of experiences teach us that all we can really do in life is to make what we have matter.

I’ve started studying again this year and have fallen straight back into my old habit of putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself. As a result though, I’ve got good results. I also feel mentally nourished for the first time in ages. In four years time I’ll be a Social Worker and will hopefully feel more proud of what I put out into the world each day. I must say though, the combination of working full time and studying part time kills your social life and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Some of our closest friends have been dealing with heavy stuff this year. Jay lost his Dad in March and my heart broke for him. I wanted to physically take his grief away so that he didn’t have to find his own way through it. Another best friend has recently learnt that her beloved brother has an ugly tumour in his brain that means he might not live to be a wise old man. And someone else finally found the courage to leave an abusive relationship.

At work, I’ve been dealing with the kind of madness that makes dogs howl and bananas turn black in the bowl and causes smart men to run for the hills. Madness. You know the kind.

But above all, 2015 seems to be a year of tremendous, ongoing growth. A year of developing precious friendships. A year of change. So do I like it? Yes, actually. I think I really do.


Anatomy of a perfect Sunday

Today started with an early morning swim in the ocean baths at Freshwater, followed by some serious lazing on the beach. Then there was some further lazing in the Paddington Reservoir Gardens. Afterwards we had a look through the Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills.

It was a rejuvenating day. The way all Sundays should be, don’t you think?

12 3 4 5 6 7 8  9 10

Saturday photo journal

Yesterday was a day steeped in old times. I went to a newly restored, 111 year old hotel with two old friends. While we were there, we came upon a flapper style jazz festival where all the attendees were in 1920s garb. They were trying to break the world record for the most number of people doing the charleston at the one time. I felt like we’d walked right into the Great Gatsby. It was wonderful.

Days with your best friends are good for the soul. IMG_0406 IMG_0409 IMG_0412 IMG_0415 IMG_0418 IMG_0419 IMG_0435 IMG_0439 IMG_0443 IMG_0444 IMG_0446 IMG_0448 IMG_0456

The last ten books I’ve read

In January I read three books, which I wrote about here. Since then, it’s taken me the last 11 months of 2014 to read another 10. That means I’ve only read 13 books in total this year! This is probably less books per year than ever before. I think it’s mostly because I’ve used a lot of my commute time lately to listen to podcasts. Also, I read The Luminaries which was a mammoth tomb and took forever!

The last 10 books

So, from start to finish, these are the last 10 books I’ve read this year:

1) Let’s talk about diabetes with owls, David Sedaris
Somehow I managed to go my whole life without ever knowing who David Sedaris was. When a friend leant me this collection of short stories, I became a bit obsessed with finding out more about this hilarious man. Now I want to read everything he’s ever written. This book made me laugh till my cheeks felt like they’d been doing squats!

2) Puckoon, Spike Milligan
Conversely, this was the most ridiculous book I’ve ever read. My father in law gave it to me which was the only reason I read it and I really think that if it wasn’t so short I would have quit. I don’t find The Goon Show or anything else that Spike ever wrote to be funny so it’s not surprising that this was not up my alley at all. It’s an Irish comedy where the characters in the book interact with the author and I found it all a bit silly.

3) Masters of Doom, David Kushner
Now this is also not something I’d normally read but I would TOTALLY recommend it. I love books about people who have changed the world as we know it in some way. This is about the two guys who basically created the computer game industry. They are most famous for writing Commander Keen, Doom and Quake.

As the author says at the end of the book, “It’s both amazing and frustrating to me that the billion dollar industry of computer gaming is a mystery to so many people. The story of John Carmack and John Romero is a classic American adventure that captured the birth of a new medium and the coming of age of two compelling and gifted young people. By telling it, I hope to give gamers the respect and understanding the deserve”.

4) Mrs Warren’s profession, George Bernard Shaw
Sometimes when I don’t know what to read next, or when I need a break between books, I read plays. I like Mr Shaw, he wrote good stuff, this play included.

5) My prisoner, my friend, Christo Brand
Can everyone please read this book? It’s such a good one. Christo was Nelson Mandela’s prison guards on Robben Island for 12 years. He became a confidant, then a friend and then once Nelson was Prime Minster, Christo became his employee. This book reiterated how much Nelson valued education. While in prison, he studied day in and day out and he encouraged the other freedom fighters to do so too. One of my favourite quotes from Nelson’s own book, Long Walk to Freedom is: “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given that separates one person from another.”

I heard about this book at about the same time I decided to go to South Africa this year so it was good pre trip reading!

6) Between shades of grey, by Ruta Sepetys
No, not 50 shades of grey! This one is a novel about a family sent to a work camp in Siberia during the second world war. The protagonist is a young Lithuania girl and the book was deliberately written from a teenage perspective. The author met many survivors from Siberia who were teenagers at the time of deportation. They claimed that they had a greater will to live than many of their adult counterparts. 

The notes at the end of this book about the way the genocide of Baltic people was never spoken about reminded me a lot of the Armenian genocide. Also, reading it straight after the book about Nelson Mandela made me think that freedom is something humans seem to have to continually relearn!

7) The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
I’ve read many reviews of this book where people have said that they found The Luminaries hard to put down. Well I myself actually found it totally put downable! And I did, in fact, put it down many times, sometimes taking weeks before I was ready to go back to it. There’s about 800 pages and of those, about 600 pages  were utter tedium. Just as I had decided that I was going to quit, my sister insisted that it was about to get good so I pushed on. It did get better for a little while but then continued to bore me.

There’s lot of cleverness, in that each chapter is exactly half the length of the previous chapter. There’s also a whole star sign thing going on where each of the main characters is aligned with a star sign and characters on opposite ends of the astrological chart affect each other. However overall, it really felt like a very long winded whodunnit. And while there were certain turns of phrase that I found amusing, on the whole, I didn’t really think the writing was amazing. Sorry Eleanor.

8) The fault in our stars, by John Green
I read this book after the film came out and only because the internet was flooded with John Green interviews and he sounded like an awesome dude. After reading just a few pages, his writing confirmed his awesomeness.

This book is both hilarious and devastating. It’s witty, the characters are beyond quirky and I loved every bit of it. I’m not sure I can bring myself to see the film, my heart is still aching from the novel. Cancer stories get under my skin.

9) The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
I remember Alain de Botton once saying that the mere mention of a self help book makes him do a ‘quick-back-out-of-the-room-and-break-into-a-sprint manoeuvre’. That’s how I initially felt about this book. I’d heard about it for a long time but I’m not into self help so I only read it following David’s recommendation. And naturally I ended up loving it.

In the book, Gretchen talks through research she’s done about the habits of supremely happy human beings. It made me think a lot about what makes me happy and also about why some people aren’t happy and may never be.

One of the things that Gretchen felt was making her unhappy was all the massive lumps on her to do list that just never seemed to get done. I too have completely overzealous and seemingly unrealistic to do lists and it bothers me when I can’t cross things off them. After I finished this book, I started to think about the pockets of time that I waste and could use to be more productive.

10) Sarah’s key, by Tatiana de Rosnay
In this novel, the chapters alternate between the second world war era and the time sixty years later. One of the key characters is a reporter trying to find out more about what happened during the 1942 round-up of Jewish people in France. I had never heard of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ Roundup so I found this story interesting and also completely tragic. 

So that’s me. What have you all been reading?

Things I know to be true

http://www.mynewnormals.com/truth-hurts/I recently read the Happiness Project and in it, Gretchen Rubin talks about her ‘secrets of adulthood’. She starts the book with this list – it’s sort of a summary of things she has found to be true. You can read her list here. It made me think of my own truisms. Here’s what I have learnt during this wonderful life of mine:

  • Life surprises us most of the time.
  • The world is being run without me having any say in it so I should just concentrate on helping when I can.
  • The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.
  • Rather than being scared and running away from things, sometimes you just gotta show up. Despite fear. Despite discomfort.
  • Motherhood is a privileged path.
  • When you feel ambivalence creeping in to your life, you need to follow it to its source.
  • Creativity can be nurtured, but is mostly innate.
  • Never underestimate the importance of hard work.
  • Don’t mistake sweetness for weakness.
  • There is nothing pretty about entitlement.
  • Every person is a living, breathing story. Just like me.
  • Reading, watching and listening to trash creates pollution of the mind.
  • Happiness is the greatest revenge.
  • There are many different ways of caring.
  • You always take your point of view with you.
  • It’s amazing how deep happiness can go.
  • I don’t need an audience for every moment of my life.
  • Relationships are a day by day trek toward greater patience, deeper love & gutsier faith.
  • Donating money to charity is not the most I can do. It’s the least I can do.
  • Eating chocolate gives you cancer. Not eating chocolate gives you cancer. Just eat the chocolate.
  • Racism was the fight of last century, homophobia is the fight of this century. Fight the fight.
  • Have less, enjoy more.
  • Australianism is not just what’s in your own backyard.
  • Every time you eat a schnitzel, you may as well just tape the whole thing to your thigh.
  • Goodness in people overwhelms anything that is not goodness.
  • Pinterest breeds unrealistic expectations.
  • Just because something is a good opportunity doesn’t mean you have to do it.
  • Own your own story.
  • It’s more important to focus than multitask
  • Humans are imperfect. And that’s where the beauty lies.

What do you know to be true?

Podcasts I love

I have a number of favourite podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis. These are they:

  • The Joe Rogan Experience
    This podcast and its followers has become like a cult movement! It’s hosted by stand-up comedian Joe Rogan.  I think the reason it’s so popular is because people are really seeking authenticity right now and Joe is about as authentic as you can get. He’s one of those people who seem to easily be able to explain the world to you.  His interviews range from thought provoking to hilarious. He has all sorts of different guests who have exposed me to ideas that have mentally taken me to interesting, esoteric places. I love him.
  • London Real
    Inspired by the Joe Rogan Experience, London Real is hosted by Brian Rose who quit his job as a banker in London to create this weekly talk show. The topics each week vary from politics to fitness to contemporary debates. The interviews are always really interesting and eye opening. After listening to this podcast I feel less distracted by prosaic day-to-day concerns and can feel myself thinking bigger, deeper and for longer!  
  • Bullet proof radio
    This show run by Dave Asprey who created The Bullet Proof Diet. His interviews are all about the latest in innovative thinking geared toward how to perform better. The science is fascinating to me.
  • The Mike Dolce Show
    Mike is a UFC trainer who is all about ‘earth grown nutrients’ and he’s very anti processed food. He’s one of those people who I consider to be a gold medallist in the ‘Winning At Life’ category. He is passionate, has strong, happy relationships and is successful in many ways.
  • Warrior Poet
    Aubrey Marcus who runs this podcast seems to be a gorgeous individual. He explores topics that I would never have thought I was interested in but that I now find fascinating. He talks about psychedelics, shamanic therapy and enlightenment. Note that the thoughts and opinions expressed in his podcasts do not necessarily mimic the views the linker! :)
  • Q&A
    I love this show but it’s on late and I often fall asleep. So now I listen to it while I go to work on Tuesday mornings. Q&A is all about the hot political and social issues in Australia each week. I learn lots from this show!
  • Insight
    This is an SBS show that I love but never seem to be home to watch on Tuesday nights. They bring together all sorts of guests, experts, people with strong opinions and often people with remarkable tales. An opinion is one thing I’ve always got on hand and I like listening to other peoples as well!
  • The Book Club
    Skewing heavily towards literary fiction, this show has a gorgeous, gregarious panel that discuss new and classic books. If I could be anyone other than myself I would struggle to choose between Marieke Hardy and Jennifer Byrne. I love the literary debates on this show! It’s like the Margaret and David of the book world.
  • ABC Big Ideas TV
    As I’m sure you’re gathering if you’ve read this far, I love ‘thinky’ videos and podcasts so I love this one. The show and podcast curate interesting, challenging and diverse talks from events everywhere, including writers festivals, unis and other places around Australia.
  • TEDTalks
    No podcast ‘best of’ list would be complete without mentioning these renowned talks. TED always provide some of the most fascinating, insightful, and intriguing discussions from people around the world. Each talk is condensed into a short audio segment which I devour.
  • NPR: TED radio hour
    This podcast is based on TED Talks but Guy Raz curates a few different talks on one particular topic into an hour long talk. He interviews the people who gives the talks and then injects parts of the talks into the segment. These podcasts address everything from happiness to crowd-sourcing innovation. Love ’em.
  • The Moth
    This is sort of similar to TED but I actually like it better. It’s a recording of storytellerd who are standing in a crowded room with no notes or slides and just telling stories. They are often very moving and I’ve had big cries, many times listening to this.
  • This American Life
    Apparently this is the most downloaded podcast in America. Each week,  the host Ira Glass delves into first-person stories and short fiction pieces from around the world. It will make you laugh just as often as it will make you cry.
    This is a comedy podcast hosted by Wil Anderson and Charlie Clausen. They discuss bizarre hypothetical situations and talk a lot about movies that I have never seen nor will see! I can’t listen to this on the train because it makes me laugh too much and Ian wants to disown me!
  • Wilosophy
    This is my favourite podcast of all and I wish Wil Anderson would record more! He has conversations with people about what their life philosophy is. I think the reason I love it so much is because it’s allowing me to hear the conversations I want to have.
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry
    I mean, the name alone! Lee Tran Lam’s blog was the first blog I ever read. And her podcast was the first I ever listened to! She has a very engaging style and interviews Sydney restaurateurs and food personalities. I’ve never listened to one of her podcasts and NOT wanted to go to the restaurant she’s just featured. Essential for all Sydney foodies!
  • The Joy the Baker podcast
    This blogger and her bestie Tracy from the Shutterbean blog talk about ‘totally important unimportant things’. Their conversations remind me of all the silly conversations I have with my best friends. And it helps me to miss my besties a little less. Joy also has another podcast that’s been on hiatus called ‘We’re about to be friends’ but it’s about to start up again.
  • Slumber Party with Georgie and Alie
    Alie and Georgia put on their pjs and podcast from a pillow fort. They are obsessed with science and cooking and ghosts and have the most preposterous
    conversations. I want to be friends with them. I know they’d like me.
  • The Art of Simple
    This one is hosted by Tsh from The Art of Simple blog. I love Tsh because she’s all about living a simple, clutter free life. She wants to get in touch with her inner tortoise and do one thing with awareness rather than ten things mindlessly. So do I. I’m particularly loving her podcast at the moment because Tsh has taken a year off to travel the world with her family and I like hearing about the places she’s exploring.
  • I seem fun: The diary of Jen Kirkman
    This American comedian has a podcast that I find to be absurd, random, delightful. When Ian’s overheard it, he’s described it as absurd, random and painful. Jen’s style takes a little getting used to. It’s the only podcast I listen to where someone just monologues. I really prefer two people podcasting together or a host interviewing people but I’ve got used to, and like this one. If you hear a whole lot of silence and think something’s gone wrong, don’t worry. She’s just texting someone mid podcast. Like I said. Random. I love her.
  • After the jump
    Grace Bonney from Design Sponge hosts this podcast. She has lots of inspiring interviews with people from arty/crafty/designery communities. It’s a world I like to hear about. And if you’re a small business owner or professional blogger then you’d find all the tips useful.
  • The Lively Show
    So this one is hosted by Jess Lively who also hosts what sounds like a popular blog. I don’t follow it and I only listen to this every now and again. Jess lives up to her name, she’s very high spirited and fun. She talks about living in the present and living with intention. Both are concepts that I recognise are a little trite but are still topics that interest me. 
  • Over the back fence
    This one is two country neighbours chatting about life, the universe and everything else. It makes me want to move to the country and join the Country Women’s Association.
  • Five to Eight
    This is a silly podcast but it really makes me laugh. A group of friends start recording it when they’ve had five drinks and they stop after they’ve had eight. It’s kind of like eavesdropping on a funny group of people at a bar!

Do you have any others you can let me know about? I’ve recently heard about The Table Set but haven’t listened to it yet. Add a comment if you know another you think I’d like.

Link juice

I thought I’d pass you some link juice. Here’s a few great things I’ve had bookmarked for awhile.

>>>> These AWESOME travel guides give you little itineraries for when you have only 12 or less hours in a particular city.

>>>> An ode to Turkish tea. I have been addicted to Turkish Apple tea ever since I went to Turkey.

>>>> Have a look at this stunning home. There’s so much visual loveliness that it sent me into a tizzy! Kara Rosenlund is certainly the cat’s meow in styling! I want to live there please.

>>>> This blog post and also the one that Stacey links to within it are  good reminder that we as woman need to stop comparing ourselves with each other all the time and learn from each other instead. I think we need to start saying ‘you do you and I’ll do ME!’.

>>>> I love this kind of life hack post. It’s a list of 20 signs you’re succeeding at life even when you feel like you’re not.

>>>> This post about things that morning people do better than night owls has decided me! I’m going to work on being an early bird again. Somehow I’ve stopped being an early riser. But I know that exercising in the morning boots your metabolism and gets your digestion going for the day. And according to this post, morning birds are happier, nicer and more conscientious too.

>>>> I love this recipe for immunity soup. Not because the soup itself is great but I really love the way the blogger describes it. Such good writing!

This soup is built on a monster white pepper broth. White pepper with jolts of ginger, and stabs of garlic. I like it just shy of scalding, racing down my throat, sweeping through my sinuses in one boisterous, fragrant swoop.

For me, this soup is all about the clear strong broth, the invigorating way it makes me feel, and the way it lights up my insides. This is a soup for the coldest days, the runniest noses, and the shortest days of winter.

Any link juice you can pass back to me?

Why I (mostly) love Instagram

I have a bit of a love/hate relationships with Instagram. There are some days when I am loathe to open it because I don’t want to see one more cup of someone else’s coffee.

Most days though, I love it. Why? Because to me, life is made up of small moments and small words and small things. And it is on these small moments and small words and small things that Instagram is built. People post photos of their still and uneventful moments. They post photos of their big and crazy moments. It’s wonderful to experience these moments with them.

And it’s for this reason that most of my favourite instagrammers are my friends and family. I love looking into their moments. Their every day moments.

Follow these peeps! IMG_0322

Currently crushing on…

…..quirky ceramics from Gail C Ceramics


….enormous picnic sandwiches


….the easiest of easy DIY activities


….the discarded children’s spades that Ken Done collects from the beach and uses to mix paint

…..gorgeous quotes printed onto ceramics from MB art studio

…pretty vintage style brooches from Firuzan Goker


….cute pocket lockets from Jen Booth Lockets


….house pendants from Karolin Felix Dreams 


….French bull dog phone cases from The Storybook Rabbit


…fun pot plant holders from The Sill


…love heart mugs from Ross Lab


What are you crushing on right now? 

Put your drink on it

I’m quite obsessed with coasters. I have way more than I’ll ever need but I like to buy them when I travel. That way, when I’m back at home, every time I have a glass of water I am reminded of places I’ve been.

While travelling around etsy lately, I realised that I loved all of the coasters in this beautiful store.

There’s something for everyone.

For the social media queen: 

Social media coasters

For the bibliophile:

For lovers of sculls: 

For those who love retro: 

For those who love nature: 


And for people who love birds: 

I think that MeadowTea is my new favourite etsy shop!