Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Spring Clean

I am in the midst of a major pre-Spring clean. Lying around the house last week without anything to distract me, I realised that there a lot of things about the house that I'm not happy with and want to change. Now. A lot of those things hinge around the fact that we have way too much stuff for the space we're in. So, on the weekend, I attacked the kitchen cupboards, finding a disturbing amount of dried and canned goods that were well and truly expired (2009 called, and they don't want that cake mix back) Out it all went! I moved all of my cooking and crafting books onto the now cleared kitchen shelves so that I can use the kitchen with its big table space as a crafting area during the day,  and all of the foodie stuff is now neatly stowed away in the now almost empty kitchen cupboards.

The living room is basically ok. I am working on getting a lot of the framed photos off surfaces and onto a 'memory wall'. Our masses of books I am slowly culling to either sell (hopefully) or send to the op-shop. The bedroom with its rising damp issues (love old houses!) is the domain of my husband at present, given that it's problems are structural rather than cosmetic. This leaves me staring down the barrel of the abomination that is the study which is currently a home office/craft room/storage room and dressing room.

So much stuff.

But some little part of the old bower-bird me has rebelled. I have found pieces of Crown Lynn Genuine Ironstone (made in New Zealand) ceramic in op-shops before and have been gently (but not overwhelmingly) charmed by its sweet 60s patterns. Yesterday at the op-shop, though, I found this beauty. I bought the two bread-and-butter plates that they had but I talked myself out of the four matching dinner plates. But I'm going back for them today... I'll just throw out some of our old, boring dinner plates. Then we'll need the new ones. Right? Right?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Taking the 'meh' out of reading

Image from

I don't know whether it's the general blahdom of having been sick or that when I was sick, I literally couldn't read (my eyes were blurry), but I just cannot find a book to light my fire right now (and I don't mean literally, fellow Melburnian winter-sufferers). Unfortunately I am not one of those diligent folk who can plough on with a book when it's getting a bit boring. It has to speak to me or forget it. I need colour and movement...!

So it is that I am part way through A Game of Thrones, part way through Bring Up the Bodies and part way through Dead to the World and nothing is doing it for me. I can read a few pages but then...meh. 

Tell me - please - what are you reading and loving right now?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Soup for the body and soul

I have been really unwell this week, having had a bad reaction to some medication I'm on right now (or was on). It's been totally unexpected and, frankly, pretty bloody horrible. I am very gradually feeling better and it's really only yesterday and today that I've felt I could eat with anything approaching enjoyment (or with a view to keeping it down). But what to eat? It's always a big decision as to what you should start putting back into your body after it's had a lot taken out of it.

Nice, wholesome bready carbs have appealed, as have fresh fruit and vegetables. But bread, fruit and veg just as I imagine them in my mind's (tummy's) eye! Just as I want it. That's when my father's soup swam into my mind. Dad has been making soup for as long as I can remember and it is just so warm and thick and vegetably and good. I put in an order over the phone for some yesterday afternoon (ahem!) and this morning, lo and behold, Dad arrived with a jar of the good stuff, half of which I polished off with joy this lunchtime just passed.

So good.

A bite of home.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pretty in Pink

Last night I watched, with a surprising amount of enjoyment, the teen classic Pretty in Pink. I was a teenager when this film came out (1986) and it was huge - yet I never saw it (I'm not sure why). The soundtrack was great - New Order, The Smiths and the lovely "If you leave" by OMD at the end - and the cast strong.

It was everything you wanted your teenage years to be like - nice boys and dances and crazy clothes and first kisses. Really sweet. I said as much to my husband this morning over breakfast and I wondered if kids today ('kids today!') still enjoyed such comparative innocence, given what we're told by the media about the various horrors of the Internet. But as my husband reminded me, "It was hard at the time". And so it was! Looks like I was watching Pretty in Pink through rose-coloured glasses...! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Going to New Zealand, even for just a week, gave me some time to reflect. Holidays always do that for me, which is one of the reasons I love them so much. Away from the everyday concerns and occupations, my mind has the opportunity to focus back in on what's really going on, what's at the core. There are changes afoot for me and not only changes on how I spend my time. I am changing how I look at that time and how I look at myself.

Time to stop marking time and wasting time - time to really get as much as I can out of life. And that doesn't necessarily mean taking up skydiving or bungee jumping, but rather just finding real, simple contentment in every moment and if that isn't there, then stopping to ask why and trying to do something about it.

I'll keep you posted.

Because, after all, we can't all be Timelords, able to travel back and forth through time at will! I am completely loving the re-runs of Dr Who on the telly at the moment, with Christopher Ecclestone as The Doctor. I didn't really warm to him first time around but I'm liking his no-nonsense style very much now. This episode, in which his sidekick Rose Tyler intervenes in her father's death and causes all sorts of time-y problems, played right into my long-standing love of all things time travel.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Aotearoa - the Land of the Long White Cloud

On the road to Rotorua

We are just back from a lovely little break in New Zealand. I had a paper to give at a conference in Wellington but we had been planning on a mini-break for some time, so we decided to tie the two together. Wellington is a really lovely city - big enough to keep us entertained with its great museums, numerous bookshops and beautiful, vast public gardens to walk in - but not so big that the tourist with a handful of days to spend there feels swamped. We stayed near the excellent Cuba St too (sort of like Brunswick St, Melbournites) so we weren't ever stuck for somewhere terrific to eat either (potato curry with roti, I'm talking about you)!

On the road to Rotorua

After the conference, we made the six-hour drive north to Rotorua, NZ's well-known spa region. I must admit that I found the town itself a little too touristy but the natural spaces outside of Rotorua are just breathtakingly beautiful. I was reminded by turn of America and also Norway.

Beautiful native flowers along the path at the Orakei Korako Geothermal Park, outside of Rotorua. The flowers above remind me of wax flowers and the ones below heath but I am not sure exactly what they are...

I was also amazed but how much better New Zealand has brought together its Māori and non-Māori citizens and the important part that Māori culture plays in New Zealand's national outlook. We in Australia have a lot to learn.

We are already planning our next trip - this time to the South Island. Happy Days!