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just life

life

Happy new year

January 11, 2018
Sunset on Phu Quoc, Vietnam

So it’s 2018! Kicked off with a full(esque) moon, which I celebrated beneath on an island in Vietnam, drinking pina coladas on the porch  while my children slept inside being devoured by midges. Looked like they had chicken pox the next day. Good times.

Some amorphous goals that definitely aren’t all that SMART, just the way I like to do em:

  • Post to old blogface mcblogerston once a month.
  • Finish, tune & polish the space opera story *pats story* good story.
  • Then query the shit out of it.
  • Create beautiful surroundings (code for: attempt to finish decorating the house) (also: make my office a pretty & inspiring space to write in!)
  • Visit the motherland Aotearoa and fill up my kiwi tank before it runs empty.
  • Rock a personal style, maybe one that involves wearing more lipstick and bright dangly earrings, and definitely involves being ridiculously comfortable.
  • Take more photos. Snap away. Even shitty photos are better than none.

At this moment in 2018 I am:

Wearing – fave black shorts, stripy breton tee, bright pink tassel necklace, and lippie.

Listening toRuel and Odette, amazingly talented young Australians.

ReadingDark Sky by Mike Brooks, second in the Keiko series.

Eating – Pineapple Lumps sent for Xmas by a dear friend.

Dreaming about – A beach holiday (in a resort with a kids club, natch) where I get to read all day long while drinking pina coladas.

WatchingRIVERDALE because I HEART IT. Gives good angst.

Crushing on – Jughead, maybe.


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 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

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

Five things on a Friday

September 18, 2015

Another Friday! Man these things keep on arriving, almost like they’re programmed that way.

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These totally adorable ‘tea dragons’ as featured on io9. I love Lapsang Souchong’s flaming antlers, and Oolong’s mossy mane. And Ginger is soooper cute, can I have one please?

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Just cause, you know, Nancy Sinatra is awesome.

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37 tweets guaranteed to make you laugh every time

Number 12.
And 15.
And 22.
And 24 (haha, that’s so me)
And 29.
And 33! Best Jesus ever.

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Martha Marcy May Marlene is a really awesome movie I watched recently. It’s about a girl who escapes from a cult, and takes refuge with her estranged sister. The way the movie slowly layers together clips from her past in the cult, with the current scenes of living with her sister, builds this great dramatic tension. You realise just why she was so terrified early on. You see what they did to her, how they drew her in. You wonder just how damaged she is – what is she imagining, what is now real? She is somewhat of an unreliable narrator in the current scenes. You see her sister suddenly realise something isn’t right with her. You see her sister struggle with how to help her. Highly recommended.

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DAMN YOU STEVE. A very excellent & amusing video on blame. If you have ever dropped something & immediately blamed someone else for your unfortunate accident, give this a watch.


life

First taste of spring

September 15, 2015

Daffodils in the Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

Melbourne Botanic Gardens

Melbourne Botanic Gardens

Spring arrives early this year, with two days of heat in mid September, mild breezes knocking blossom from the trees. Great drifts of plane tree pollen are banking up in the gutters. I think this season will be a sneezy one.

On a Sunday afternoon we strip off jerseys and throw pale feet into sandals, and turn our faces to the sun. I pile food into a basket and we go to the Botanical Gardens. So does everyone else in Melbourne. We spend a stupid amount of time hunting for a carpark, along with everyone else in Melbourne.

There must be thousands there but it doesn’t feel crowded, all these people walking the paths & lying on the grass. Reading newspapers, and kindles, and books. Eating, and drinking. Chasing after small runaway children. Guess who we are. After finishing barbecue chicken skewers and mini quiches and strawberries, we roll up the picnic blanket and let Jamie take the lead. He runs. He runs and runs. He runs in a very non-linear fashion. He tries to climb into the pond. He gets pink cheeked and sweaty.

We pass a few selfie sticks, and people taking photos in front of giant spiny succulents, and from across ponds glittering in the sunlight. We wander along a trail through dense bamboo thickets, and stop to try climbing a rock. A girl and a guy in a tree inspire Jamie, who giggles when we hoist him atop a long smooth branch. He runs in circles around the fragrant herb garden. On the way back to the car, we walk past swathes of sweet blooming daffodils that perfume the air.

It smells of spring, warm and delicious. It has been a perfect spring day, without any of that brutal wind peppering eyeballs with pollen that you usually get this time of year.

We drive home, a tired and hangry child in the backseat, and all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so long until Christmas…


life

Truffle festival at the Prahran market

June 22, 2015

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They had a truffle festival on at Prahran market over the weekend, so naturally we had to stop by to see what was going on. We had a lovely wander, and got a latte and some truffle & gruyere croquettes… and a truffle itself!

If you have ever spoken to the Mr about delicious meals, I’m sure you’ve heard the story about the truffle dish he had in Perugia.

Big truffle fan there.

And so we decided to spring for one & see if we can recreate that heavenly meal. $30 later, a wee pungent parcel was tucked safely into my handbag. This little beauty is supposed to be just right for 2-3 people in a risotto or pasta dish. Hopefully we do it justice!