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just life

life

Five things on a Friday

July 14, 2017

1. This Ghostbusters Playmobil is awesome! I think my boys need it. Yep. They totally do. (As kids my siblings & I were NUTS about Playmobil and I hope to foster that same enthusiasm with my boys).

2. My precious: Andy Serkis reads Trump’s tweets as Gollum:

3. Got your tissues handy? Mandy Harvey’s performance on America’s Got Talent brings me tears every.time.I.watch.

4. The most bizzare yet hilarious financial advice ever. I mean obviously. Buy solid silver spoons. That is totes how you get out of $187000 of debt. (Possibly this woman is an incarnation of me from another dimension, since my life’s actual financial plan since 1999 has been Win The Lotto.)

5. Stranger Things season 2 is coming on October 27th:

life

A movie, a birthday, a jersey

April 26, 2017

We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 on Monday night and you guys! It was so enjoyable, I had such a good time watching it. Really funny and satisfying. I didn’t have high expectations for it, tbh, I suppose because it’s a sequel and the first one was so – different & surprising – still, I thought it would be fun, and worthwhile seeing on the big screen (The Mr & I don’t get so many opportunities to go to the movies these days!) – it definitely exceeded my expectations. I laffed. Oh yeah. I was that lady cackling away over her choc top.

So, it’s funny – and it’s emotional, cashing in on some of the info & connections built in the previous film. Our awesome fivesome are joined by some new & old peeps. Elizabeth Debicki is fabulous as the high priestess. A thick layer of gold paint only makes her innate stature even more haughty. I hope she sticks around for the next one. Pom Klementieff as Mantis, with her lack of socialisation, is the perfect character played alongside the very literal Drax.

Go see it, it’s good fun. So much better than the last Marvel films I’ve seen: Avengers FiftyBillion (that’d be the number of characters in it, not the sequel number) or Dr Strange (snoooooozefest).

***

It’s my smallest progeny’s first birthday next week. Yes I know! That year flewww past. Every parent says that. Because it’s true, they fly by like flying things. He is the most delicious creature right now but as my MIL points out, they’re designed that way. It’s evolutionary, yeah, so we keep procreating. If they leapt right into 3 year olds, the human race would swiftly die out. I look at my sweet little boy and I think, heaven help me, he’s going to be a 3 year old one day… O_o

This chocolate chiffon cake is the cake I’m going to make for his little party on the weekend. It’s a humungous recipe, suitable for feeding The Masses, but I think I will stuff it full of cream and lather on some buttercream icing instead of doing the salted caramel. My test bake was very promising, so I’d highly recommend this if you’re looking for a MASSIVE CAKE. Get yourself a 25cm tin and line it high with baking paper, my bakerly friends.

***

Finally it’s looking like Melbourne is ready to pull autumn on for good, so I’m getting to that stage where you stand in front of all your clothes every morning and think, this is not good. this shit is just not going to fly.

C’mon I know that doesn’t just happen to me every 6 months!

I had this vague hope that my personal fashion concept this year would extend beyond Jeans + T-shirt + Mum-Bun Hair. But how I can apply this practically, when I have no time to shop & try on clothes, is the tricksy bit. Also my hair is doing that I-have-a-12-month-old-baby thing, where it’s half grown back and half still falling out, lanky and ick and frizzy. That means bun-time, all the time.

I should buy some hats.

Anyway, I did pick up this super cute jersey a couple of weekends ago from French Connection, so at least I have one thing that I’m happy about wearing in the colder weather… and look! if you like it too, it’s currently on sale. And ooh, doesn’t it look good with a cute hat?

life

A slice of life

April 10, 2017

Monday afternoon.
It’s raining + windy + grim outside.
I think we got all of April’s rain in the last 24 hours. And it’s been lovely. Very autumnal. The first cold of the season always is! (Then it keeps on keeping on, and I quickly turn to despair, and I’ll look back at this and be all WHAT WAS I THINKING)
We’re all holed up inside wearing standard dresscode (gruglies).
There are toys on literally every surface.
And you should know I don’t use the word ‘literally’ lightly.
(A little lightly)
It’s hazardous.
There’s been puzzles, playdough, baking, blocks. The careful application of toys to every surface of the house.
I wrote some words in naptime. And did a million loads of laundry.
And tonight we’re going to have a hunk of roast lamb, with a mountain of crispy roast potatoes, all drowned in gravy (I make a good gravy. This is, I think, an inherited trait. Come over sometime & I’ll show you how to make Freakin Awesome Proper Gravy.)
Hope your Monday is going just as swimmingly.

life

2016 in review & looking forward to 2017

January 24, 2017
2016 in review - my boys

I like how I manage to get these posts up in January…. juuust.

Reading

I read 29 books in 2016. I was so! close! to finishing 30 books but the last one – Life or Death by Michael Robotham – ended up spilling over into January.

I had NO re-reads and NO did-not-finishes. Entertaining new reads the entire year! Goal = tick.

I very much enjoyed the books by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) in the Cormoran Strike series. And I don’t even usually read crime. One of them in particular has lots of scenes set where I used to live in west London, which made for a very vivid read (& a moment of “why did he just take the tube when it would’ve been faster to walk?”). JK Rowling does plot very well, and I love her vivid descriptions of interesting characters.

The sci-fi Something Coming Through by Paul McAuley was fantastic, as was the post-apocalyptic Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.

I also finished a few series this year, reading the following books which are all the final books in trilogies: Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear, Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie, and City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin. (Lush, brilliant, and average, respectively.)

And I smashed the rest of Liane Moriarty’s back catalogue plus her latest novel. Lady better write the next one, stat.

Writing

Well… I had a baby. No, truthfully, I did get some writing done, but not as much as I would have liked. I embarked on edits of Silver & Iron, which I’m currently still doing. The.book.is.so.close.to.being.doneski.for.realski.

Goal: finish edits – finish completely! – by end of March. Including a query letter. Begin querying in April.

Then: write shiny new ideas that are shiny!

Personal

In 2016…
– I had another baby boy! And he’s wonderful. New people are wonderful. Boys are wonderful.
– We went to New Zealand for Christmas and I finally filled up my sadly empty Kiwiana Tank. Phew.
– My personal fashion concept could be described as Fat Preggo followed by Mum Uniform.
– We did not landscape. Boo.

This year, we have already smashed goal numero uno, which was landscape the back yard! It’s done! If I had written this post on time I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that, ha.

I would also like to figure out some kind of personal fashion concept that excites me. Because sometimes the t-shirts-with-holes-in-them and shorts (if it’s warm) or jeans (if it’s not warm) just… does not excite me.

House goals: Light fittings installed. Recover the awesome old chairs I got at a 2nd hand store. Sew some curtains. Furnish the TV room? Get cabinetry in the laundry? Paint the hallway wall. Wallpaper the toilet? Actually, I have a billion house goals, and only 12 months of the year…. Goal one: prioritise goals.

life

Exploring the hood: Pipemakers Park

January 22, 2016

One hot morning a couple of weeks ago, I threw the sproglet into the pram and pushed him across the bridge to see if we could reach the mall and by chance! discovered this weird, overgrown, dilapidated, wonderful space. Something about it made me think of the crumbling Oz as Dorothy rediscovered it, destroyed by Mombi & the Nome King. A post-apocalyptic park where scary critters might be hiding in the shade, history lost to tumbled stones. A place where old pipes stood on end to form a portico draped in unkempt grapevines, chipped mosaics led into the cracked concrete foundations of long-gone buildings, a fig tree drooped under the weight of green unripe fruit, birds sang in thorny bushes, old rail tracks went nowhere next to an overgrown dell, rusted signs stood watch beside wavy yellow grasses.

The park was built in the 1980s over the remains of old factories – meatworks, and pipeworks – and possibly has not been maintained since then. I was enchanted by its decrepitude, so I took my boys back there during the holidays to explore and have a picnic in the summery sun.

Pipemakers Park

Pipemakers Park

Pipemakers Park

A magnificent place to run around.

Pipemakers Park - mosaic

Lots of mosaics.

Old foundations

Pipemakers Park - old pipes

We ate raspberries and donuts in the shade of an arbor.

Pipemakers Park

Pipemakers Park - the meat trail

Found a few signs for the ‘Meat Trail’. Very intriguing…

Pipemakers Park

My favourite of these signs was barely legible, proclaiming the zone to be the ‘Garden of the Future’… well the Future is Now, and turns out it’s mostly weeds.

Pipemakers Park

Came across a mini caravan park where they must be doing some filming for the Reno Rumble TV show (remind me to watch it now) – what a lovely place to camp, beside the river!

There’s a free community bike workshop set up beside one of the old factory buildings, and lots of bike riders and walkers enjoying the riverside. But evenso, there’s something a little sinister about the park, with the quiet still, the ruins, the places to hide. That little thread of unease in the atmosphere only makes it a more interesting place to explore. I hope it doesn’t get fixed up any time soon.

life

2015 in review & looking forward to 2016

January 21, 2016

It’s still January! So this post is still legit! I’m totally scraping it in.

Reading

I read 21 books in 2015. Not a great year but at least it was more than 2014 (although 2014 was skewed by The Luminaries which should really count for at least eight books, don’tcha think?)

Three were did-not-finishes.

Two were rereads (Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells).

I discovered Liane Moriarty in the latter months and burned through a bunch of her titles. Love her stuff. She’s a bit like an Australian Marian Keyes.

My favourite three reads were The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, The Passage by Justin Cronin, and Little Big Lies by Liane Moriarty.

This year, I want to READ MOAR. I’m going for quantity, and for entertainment. I’m thinking about fun, about popular fiction, rollicking sci-fi and engrossing fantasy. I will limit my threshold for boringness. If a book isn’t gripping me within the first few chapters, I’ll be moving on – no wasting time ignoring it and reading magazines instead…

Writing

I edited and finished Silver & Iron (erm, mostly) (previously known as Rukan). I mean, holy shit. A book practically completed – the first one I’ve ever got to this point – that’s a pretty big win for the year. Nothing else got done. A few meandering thoughts on other stories, some poking at short pieces. I was consumed by that book.

This year, I want to send Silver & Iron out into the big wide world. And I want to get a sizeable chunk written on the first draft of my next story. It’d be nice to do more… a short story or two, a finished first draft… but I’m trying to be realistic about my capability.

Personal

In 2015…
– We built and moved into our new house!
– My personal fashion concept could be described as STAGNANT. With a side of Mum Bun Hair.
– I lost a pregnancy 🙁
– I did some adult beginner ballet lessons & luffed them
– I suffered some serious New Zealand homesickness
– My sister briefly lived in the same city as me (yay!) and then moved (boo!)

This year, I want to get the driveway, landscaping and window furnishings completed for our house. Hopefully also: a few light fittings in, and some cabinetry.
And I would like to just, at least, try – a little bit – to get regular haircuts like a normal person. And get some new boots come winter where the zips actually zip.
And we are expecting another sproglet now, which is sure to throw a spanner into the works of all the aforementioned goals…!

life

December like woah

December 16, 2015

We have MOVED!
What a crazy busy wonderful time of year this is.
I went to Sydney to see a friend for a couple of days. There were Christmas parties and presents, birthdays, packing up, moving, unpacking, cleaning the old flat, and multiple trips to Bunnings. I pretty much took out a second mortgage with AusPost, sending parcels all over the world.
Perhaps the very first thing I unpacked in the new house was the Christmas tree…
It’s currently filling up a spare corner of the living room. The place will probably look a bit more empty come January when it is time to pack it up.
Outside our house is a desert of dust and rock and weeds.
We have people coming to quote for driveway, paths, decking, blinds. I just want to get the outside done and then we will be more comfortable here.
Master J is learning to ride his scooter up and down the long hallway. Needless to say, he’s loving the extra space. I am too. I can’t wait to get my study set up with my own desk and comfortable chair – it will be the place of Many Great Words…

life

One year wiser et cetera

October 15, 2015

It was my birthday on Tuesday. Thirty four years on this earth, and four years in Melbourne town. This birthday really snuck up on me. Suddenly it was October! Whaaaat? Wasn’t it just March?

The day passed by without much fanfare – some years are like that, don’t you think? I could have made more time for myself but I didn’t. I did get to have a lunch out, which is a rarity these days. French toast with poached pear and strawberries and marscapone, and a latte. At a cafe which is very not-child-friendly. Boy did I take those for granted.

Thirty four is: another layer to my hair, thinking about the lost baby which would have been due this week, wondering if I’ll ever paint my fingernails again, apprehension at having to move an entire houseload of stuff for the first time, self confidence, experimenting with toddler containment techniques, always giving a cuddle, excitement for the next year to come, only pages away from finishing my first book to an acceptable readable standard!, slight addiction to marshmallowy goodies, content.

Big things will happen in the next 12 months, starting off with moving into our new house. There’ll be so much to organise – driveway, paths, window coverings, garden, lawn, decking, light fittings, mirrors, cabinetry, furniture. ARrrgh. Part of me just wishes it was already 6 months down the track with all these things finished, even though time is clearly flying by fast enough as it is. Hopefully by this time next year, we’ll be comfortably settled in, with all the major items ticked off. I look forward to the slow accretion of a home, of making this house truly ours.