Happenings

Reading, Watching, Listening.

Watching:

13 Reasons: I’ve debated for a while about watching this but intrigue finally got the better me. There’s been much conversation and debate about this show that’s based on the story of a teenager who commits suicide. I’ve decided to watch it so that I can make up my own mind. I’m five episodes into the thirteen episodes so I’ll let you know what I think when I get to the end…I hear that the final episode is especially confronting. Have you watched?

This is us: Who’s hooked? I am. This show had me right from that brilliant twist in the very first episode. I feel like it’s all building to something, and of course we all want to know how Jack died (I still can’t believe he’s going to die). Any theories?

Reading:

Small Great Things: Last month I finally found the time to sit down and read ‘Small Great Things’ by Jodi Picoult. Jodi is one of my all time favourite authors so I always have high hopes whenever she releases a new book. Jodi is renowed for always have some kind of big twist towards the ending and I have to say that was probably my only real disappointment in this book. For me, the ‘big twist’ lacked the usual punch and shock factor, maybe even seemed a little too neat, with everything tied up in a neat little bow at the end. But, having said that, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book and it held me captive right the way through.

Work Strife Balance: I’m going to be brutally honest and say I’ve never been a big fan of Mia Freedman (she seems to be the woman that other woman love to hate) but I didn’t really know why exactly. I don’t think I’ve ever actually even read anything on Mamamia before (not that I can remember anyway) but I do love her podcast No Filter; though I think that’s more about the subjects she interviews than Mia herself. Anyway, I decided I didn’t really know enough about Mia to judge so I picked up this book, a little intrigued to find out more. And you know what? I actually really, really enjoyed the book. There were funny bits and touching bits and even some uncomfortable bits. There were bits I couldn’t relate to and bits I couldn’t. But overall, I enjoyed it and I definitely feel like I know Mia a lot better now (as much as a total stranger can!) At the end of the day, she just another woman, another mum, trying to do the best she can, stuffing up a lot along the way; something which she openly admits. Have you read Mia’s book?

Listening:

The Well: One of my favourite podcasts is finally back after a long break! I’ve talked about The Well here before; Rebecca Sparrow and Robin Bailey talk all things motherhood, friendship and life. And they’re back with a bang with the “when life pulls the rug out from under you” episode. Get on it people.

S- Town: Oh man, I could devote an entire blog post to this podcast (and I might just do that one day). Just seven episodes long I binged listened to the whole thing in a week. And then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I recommended it to a friend who I knew would enjoy it as much as I did so I had someone to talk to about it. If you haven’t listened to S-Town it’s hard to explain in too much detail without giving anything away. I can say this; it is quite unlike anything I’ve ever come across before. As my friend so perfectly put it in a late night text message after he’d finished listening “clocks, mercury and gold. A story about nothing and everything”. The story begins with a man contacting a journalist, Brian Reed (the creator and narrator of the podcast) informing him there had been a murder in his small town that had been covered up and asked him to investigate. In the end, that’s not really story at all….and that’s all I’m going to say. A little like Sarah Koenig’s commentary in Serial, you find yourself mesmerised by Brian’s voice and left wanting to hear more. Lucky for me I will be as my friend and I scored tickets to this event in Melbourne next month where we’ll get to hear Brian talk.

So, what have you been reading, watching and listening to lately?

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Reading, Watching, Listening.

When it comes to finding new books to read, shows to watch and podcasts to listen t,o I often base my choices on recommendations from others. So this week I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been reading, watching and listening to lately…check it out, you might just find something you like.

Reading: Over our summer break down the beach I finally got to read Me Before You by Jo Jo moyes. I devoured it over a few days and really enjoyed it. There is a sequel book, After You, but I’m yet to decide if I want to read it. I feel like the story finished as it should and wonder what more there is to say. I’m not sure if the sequel will be too depressing? If you’ve read it I’d love to hear your thoughts! I’ve also got the movie sitting at home ready to watch, I’ve been told to have the tissues ready.

I also recently finished reading Motherhood and Creativity: The Divided Heart by Rachel Power. I won a copy from the beautiful Lauren (aka- Me and My Girl.) She told me I’d love it and I certainly did! In the book, Rachel interviews a number of well known professional creatives (from actors and writers to painters and musicians) about how they juggle motherhood and their creative pursuits and how one affects the other. Whilst I am by no means a ‘professional’ creative I could certainly still relate to much of what was said. It was a really interesting read and I discovered so many common themes threaded throughout. If you are a mother and a creative soul you, this book is a must read.

Watching: Last week hubby was away overnight for work and so with the little man sleeping soundly next to me I finally got to sit down and watch The Minimalism Documentary on Netflix. I’ll be completely honest and say that whilst I’ve heard a lot about The Minimalists I’ve never actually read or listened to any of their stuff, so I thought I’d start here. I loved it and fell in love with Josh and Ryan (how could you not love them?) And I’ve since starting listening to their podcast. Whilst I don’t think I could ever be as hardcore minimalist as these guys I can certainly relate and agree with a lot of what they have to say.

Listening: To podcasts, all the podcasts! Here are some of my favourite episodes that I’ve listened to lately:

No Filter- Mia Freedman interviews Jodi Picoult: Rather than listen to the No Filter podcast in order, I just pick out the episodes that I’m interested in. So of course when I saw that Mia had interviewed my all time favourite author, Jodi Picoult, it was at the top of my list and it didn’t disappoint. I also loved her interview with Kasey Chambers and Rebecca Sparrow.

Conversations with Richard Fuller: with Jon Ronson, author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. I’ve had Jon’s book on my ‘must read’ list for quite a while now (I really must get to it) and after listening to this podcast episode I want to read it even more! In this interview, Jon talks about some of the most famous cases from his book and gives a really interesting insight into not only the real stories behind them but also what happened to those people after they were so publicly shamed on social media. It’s quite sad how one small moment or action can literally ruin people’s lives. It’s certainly mad me rethink what I choose to share my social media pages.

The Well: The Grief Episode. I listened to every episode of The Well last year, except this one. I wasn’t sure if I could listen to it, I knew it would be a tough one but eventually, alone in the car one day not long after Christmas, I finally did. Listening to Robin and Rebecca talk is like listening in on a conversation with friends and this episode was both touching and insightful.

What have you been reading, watching and listening to lately? Got any good recommendations for me?

 

 

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Taking Stock

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A quick catch up today as it’s a public holiday here in Melbourne (Cup day) and also officially the first day of NaNoWriMo. I have no idea if I’m going to be able to keep up with blogging or if I’m even going to feel like writing after attempting to write 1500 words everyday so if things get a little quiet around here you know why!

But before I jump head first into the month long writing challenge I thought it was a good time to stop and take stock with Pip’s Taking Stock list. Here we go:

Making: An indoor herb garden. It’s on the to do list for this week! I’ve got herbs, just need to buy the pots.

Cooking: Nothing much exciting lately, I’ve been in a bit of a slump but that’s gotta change! Anyone got any great simple recipes to share?

Drinking: Freshly squeezed orange juice with my breakfast.

Reading: These books. I’ve also just finished The Dry by Jane Harper which I loved. I’m not sure if I’ll get much reading done in the next month though.

Wanting: My anxiety to fuck off.

Looking: Forward to summer and Christmas holidays.

Wishing: My anxiety would fuck off. (Noticing a theme here?)

Enjoying: Daylight savings.

Waiting: For our great bunch of friends to come over and celebrate Melbourne Cup day with us today.

Wondering: How our little man will go at school next year. I hope he loves it!

Loving: My friends. I’ve called on two in particular in recent times, they get my anxiety and have really been there for me. Thank you. You know who you are.

Pondering: How I’m actually going to manage to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.

Listening: To Smiling Mind meditations at bed time.

Buying: Christmas presents. I started last week, determined to get it all done early this year!

Watching: Some good new Aussie dramas- The Wrong Girl and Doctor Doctor. Who else has been watching?

Cringing: At the recent online drama. between two bloggers That’s all I have to say about that.

Needing: A nap…always.

Wearing: My PJ’s

Knowing: It will be ok. 

Thinking: too much. It’s a problem of mine.

Getting: Sick of hearing about the American election. Is it over yet?!

Bookmarking: House floor plans. We’re dreaming of a new house again!

Disliking: Spam, auto bots and the follow then unfollow trend on Instagram. Annoying much!

Giggling: At our lil mans dance moves. Crack up!

Feeling: Loved.

Celebrating: Melbourne Cup day! And lots of little ones birthdays this month.

Embracing: The next three months at home with my boy before I go back to work next year! 

For those of you that read my post last week and are wondering what the results of my biopsy were, at this stage, it’s still a bit unclear. Pathology results came back as not being skin cancer however the specialist was not happy with some parts of the results and still wants to remove the lesion. I’m currently seeking a second opinion. Whilst I know it’s better to be safe than sorry with these things I have also unfortunately had bad experiences in the past where I’ve undergone procedures that just weren’t necessary, so I’ve learnt now to question things. I won’t be cutting anything off my face unless I need to and will also be asking for a referral to a plastic surgeon if that is necessary. Thank you to everyone who commented, called or sent me a message after my post, I really really appreciate it.

And that’s it from me for now. What’s new with you lately?

’til next time

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Living and Loving Lately

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It’s been a bit of a crappy week in our household; one by one we’ve been struck down by the dreaded gastro. So not fun. And it’s been raining here, a lot (hello Melbourne it’s meant to be Spring!) After days of being cooped up inside watching TV, reading books and sleeping (amongst all the vomiting and cleaning up of said vomit) I decided to cheer myself up by making a bit of a list of all the awesome stuff I’ve been doing and things I’ve been loving lately. Here we go:

Reading: The only upside to all of the recent rainy days we’ve had in Melbourne? Lots of time for reading. I’ve read Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It; a quick, easy and inspiring read and Craft for the Soul; a super sweet book. Also The Wrong Girl which was total chick lit at it’s finest. I can’t wait until the TV series starts this month. Next up on my bedside table is The Anxiety Book…anyone read that?

Workshopping: I’ve been wanting to do a Digital Picnic workshop for a long time (ever since they started really). So last month I finally booked in and took myself off to the Get Social Savvy workshops. After following both Cherie and Cat online for many years it was so nice to finally meet them in real life. We talked all things social media, ate cupcakes and drank from pineapple cups…fun!

Staycation: Hubby, the lil man and I had ourselves a little staycation in Melbourne to celebrate fathers day and hubby’s birthday. I picked up a Groupon and we stayed at The Parkiew which was the perfect little base for both exploring the city and staying indoors. We spoilt ourselves with the movie channel and room service. It was so much fun. We’re going to do it more often!

Podcasts: Always the podcasts. I listen to them when I’m walking, driving and cooking dinner. Current faves include #MerryBiz, Aussie Bloggers Podcast, The Well and So you want to be a writer

DIY: In case you missed it, earlier this week I shared a little DIY project I recently did (you can check it out here). I’m somewhat in love and have many more DIY projects planned for the near future so stay tuned!

Friends: Seriously I have the best friends in the world, it’s true. To every friend who has called or messaged and checked in on me lately (you know who you are) thank you, it means a lot.

But above all, after making this hard decision recently I’ve just been enjoying taking it slow; reading, writing, spending time with my family and my friends. We’ve had a couple of days where the sunshine came out and it was wonderful (more of that please Melbourne!) And of course school/kinder holidays have officially started for us so I’m looking forward to spending even more time with my boy.

Tell me, what have you been loving lately? Share all the good things!

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On beauty, having an amazinger face and meeting Zoe Foster Blake in the bathroom

Two weeks ago my sister and I were lucky enough to attend the official launch of Zoe Foster Blake’s new book Amazinger Face. I say lucky because apparently there ended up being over three thousand disappointed ladies who tried to get tickets but missed out. I thought we’d missed out too. After sending an email to the booking address I also called and put my name down on the list. Hours of waiting in anticipation later (and people starting to lose their shit on social media) I received an email to say sorry, the event had sold out within three minutes and we’d been placed on a waiting list. Bummer. One hour later I received another email confirming our spot; hooray we were in! Now time to get our pretty on….

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                                        My sister and I.

For those of you who don’t know Zoe is married to Hamish Blake (one half of the Hamish and Andy show) but is a celebrity in her own right. She is a journalist, published author and worked as the beauty editor under Mia Freedman at Cosmopolitan for several years. Amazinger Face is a fully revised and updated version of her original beauty book Amazing Face.

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                               Hi Zoe!

The launch was held over brunch at the Langham. I’d never been to the Langham before but had heard good things and let me tell you it did not disappoint! I felt fancy as soon as I walked in the doors. The food was amazing; we’re talking fluffy pancakes with Lindt chocolate sauce and meringues, fresh croissants, fruit platters and pretty bottles of waters with straws (see, fancy).

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As soon as we’d found our seat (on table 1 if ‘ya don’t mind) I headed off to the bathroom. When I walked in I noticed out the corner of my eye someone standing in front of the mirror fixing their hair but didn’t pay much attention. I stood at the basin washing my hands when I looked up and realized that said someone was in fact Zoe herself!

“Oh it’s you!” I gasped. Total fangirl moment, stay cool Sarah.

“Yes, it’s me” she replied “and I’m having a really bad hair day”. She looked stunning, as always and I told her so. I introduced myself and we chatted for a bit. As I went to walk away I had that moment where I thought to myself ‘do I ask for a photo or not?’ Not one to have any regrets I asked Zoe if taking a pic in the toilets would be inappropriate.“Umm, do you mind if we do it later after I’ve fixed my hair?” She said. She was totally nice about it but I still felt like a bit of a loser. And so I walked out without any evidence of having just met Zoe in the bathroom, hoping that she didn’t think I was a total weirdo. I quickly sent my friend (who is somewhat obsessed with Hamish and Zoe) a text. It read:

“So, me and Zoe chatting in the bathroom that just happened.” To which he replied..

“No way. What was she wearing? What were you wearing? What did she say? What did you say? Did you mention me?” See what I mean? A little obsessed.

We sat down to brunch, chatted, browsed and brought some stuff from Zoe’s Go To skin care range. I also purchased a copy of Amazinger Face and The Wrong Girl (one of Zoe’s fiction books which is being made into a TV series). Then Zoe entered the room. She gave a little speech then threw it open to the room for questions. Can I just say how awesome it is when you met someone in real life and they are just as gorgeous as you imagined they would be? Zoe was down to earth, friendly and damn funny! She has an extremely quick wit about her and had us all in stiches. At the end of her talk Zoe promised she would not leave without getting a photo with each and every person in the room and signing our books, which she did.

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                                    Me and Zoe.

And remember that Zoe obsessed friend of mine? Well we couldn’t have him miss out now could we….

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Now onto the book. I’ve read it cover to cover and have put those little sticky tabs on loads of pages. If you wear makeup, you need this book. If you don’t know how to wear makeup but want to learn, you need this book. If you want to look after your skin, learn how to tame your hair or what colour lipstick you should wear, you need this book. If you have a teenage daughter, she needs this book. Basically, I think every female should own this book. Its filled with some really great tips and tricks and need to know information. And the best bit? It’s not all about ‘looking’ good, it’s about feeling good and taking care of yourself and when it comes to beauty I think that’s the most important thing!

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             My goodies and signed copy of Amazinger Face.

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That evening after the launch I posted some pics on Instagram and who should like them but Zoe herself! I know, she probably just went through and liked everyone’s photos from the event but still, it made me feel special ha!

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Are you a Zoe fan? Have you picked up a copy of Amazinger Face yet? Got a fangirl moment you’d care to share?

By the way this is totally NOT a sponsored post. I have not been paid by Zoe to say how awesome she and her book are.

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Family Fun Things to do in Melbourne this School Holidays- Fast Five Friday

this to do in melbourne these school holidays

Looking for inspiration for fun things to do with the family in Melbourne this Winter School Holidays? Here’s my top five suggestions:

  1. Head to The Big Freeze Festival a huge indoor winter family event happening at Cranbourne Racecourse 2 to 10 July. (Check out the articles I wrote for their website on Winter Warming Family Activities and Indoor Active Play Ideas).
  2. Rug up, grab your torch and head to Werribee Zoo after dark for Wild Nights, 25 June to 9 July 5:30pm to 8:30pm. We’re hoping to check this out for the first time next week!
  3. Put the kids in their PJ’s, pack blankets and pillows in the car and set up camp at the Coburb Drive Ins. There’s a few kids movies coming out for the school holidays, if you haven’t seen it yet then Finding Dory needs to be on your ‘must see’ list.
  4. Head to Ballarat! Celebrate Christmas in July at Sovereign Hill.We went to this last year and it was awesome! Just make sure you stay for the light show at night and dress warm.
  5. Start your weekend with a spectacular light show during July and August with free Friday night fireworks and entertainment at Docklands. It’s a great family night out!

What have you got planned this school holidays?

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Drained

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Wow, last week was a big one for me and I have to say I’m feeling a bit emotionally drained after it.  I published a lot of writing last week and it felt a bit like an emotionally purging of sorts.  I shared the epic story of my scoliosis diagnosis; if you missed my posts you can find the whole story here: Part One, Part Two and Part Three. I also had a very personal article My Black Dog published on Her Collective. I wanted to say a big thank you to each an every person who took the time to read my stories. They were hard to write and brought up a lot of feelings but I found the whole process rather cathardic too. Writing has always been a type of therapy for me and getting everything down in words was something I felt I needed to do for some time now. It’s always a bit scary when you put such personal writing into the big wide world; it sort of feels like you’re standing naked in front of a crowd of strangers! But I was overwhelmed by the response and all of the comments, messages and emails I received. They ranged from ‘I’m sorry you went through that’ to ‘I’ve been there too and I understand’ and that’s exactly what I needed hear. I write these things not only for myself but for others who may be going through the same thing. I often think if only one person reads this and feels less alone then it makes it all worthwhile.

I’ve also started writing a series of posts for The Organic Place exposing the truth behind pesticide use in Australia and let me tell you what I discovered is pretty scary! I encourage you all to read this post which shares just five of the shocking facts I found out about pesticide use in Australia.

So yeah, lots of heavy stuff and it’s made me glad the school holidays are here. We’ve got lots of fun things planned. We’re heading to the Big Freeze Festival and Disney on Ice this weekend and hoping to spend some family time at our caravan down the coast when hubby has holidays next week (yay!) But yesterday, we kicked off the break with a nice slow day; the morning spent in our pjs baking and the afternoon spent crafting and watching movies. Just what I needed.

Anyway, just wanted to pop in today for a quick hello and thankyou and to say if things are a bit quiet around here for the next two weeks it’s because I have a four year old permanently attached to my side!

What have you got planned for the school holidays?

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The Organic Place

Remember the other day how I was talking about opportunities? I’ve had some great ones presented to me lately and none more so than the opportunity to work with this awesome lady….

Meet Brooke. I’m sure she’s going to kill me for putting up that photo of her but isn’t she lovely? Brooke and her partner Ben own and run The Organic Place, a company that delivers fresh organic fruit, vegetables and produce to straight to the doors of families living all over Melbourne and the west.

I originally met Brooke through our children (she’s got three!). They went to the same family day carer and now her daughter and my son attend the same kinder. A few weeks ago we got to talking; about my blog, her business, our passions….it soon turned into a long conversation which turned into a brainstorming session which quickly turned into me starting to work for The Organic Place! It all happened rather organically (pardon the pun- you see what I did there?) We’ve been kicking around ideas (we have lots of them!) and putting some plans into place for the future and let me tell you, it’s all very exciting!

When I talked about opportunity last week I talked about being at that special point in my life where I have the space and time to explore doing the things I love and this right here is one such thing. I love Brooke’s story, I love her vision, I love what she is trying to do for not only Australian families but for Australian farmers. And I’m proud that I now get to play a part in that, even if it is only a small part. And the added bonus is that I’m also learning so much about healthy eating and living which comes at a perfect time for me as I embark on my ‘a healthier me’ journey. We now get a big haul of fresh, organic produce delivered to our door every week and it’s inspiring us to try new things and eat more fruit and veg every day.

So this is just a little thankyou to Brooke, for taking a chance on me and welcoming me into your business and a big shout out to The Organic Place (check them out people- you won’t regret it!)

Have you ever been part of something exciting? Ever met someone you’ve just clicked with straight away? Are you an organic food lover? I’m a total convert!

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Sunday Sessions (The Mothers Day Edition)

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Happy Mothers Day! If you’re a Mum I hope you’re lying in bed right now, reading this, being served breakfast like a queen. My Mum, my sister and I are heading off to Gold Class this afternoon to see Mothers Day– quite fitting considering the occasion don’t you think? I was also treated by my son at kinder this week with a special mothers day celebration. He gave me a massage (complete with cucumbers on my eyes), made me afternoon tea (yummy scones) and painted my nails. Super cute! This is exactly what I was talking about in my last post; the joy of being able to be there for these moments is the best!

Aside from Mum duty, I’ve been a busy little bee this past few weeks. Last weekend I headed into the city to meet up with Pip and the Blog with Pip crew (well those who could make it anyway). Such a nice bunch of people. I was so busy chatting that I didn’t even get a chance to take any photos (gasp!) It was lots of fun, nice to finally meet some bloggers I’ve been stalking following in real life and chat with likeminded people. Speaking of Pip, have you seen her awesome new e-course Blog Magic, it looks like a lot of fun! Thinking I might have to sign up…

Whilst I was in the city for the Pipsters catch up I took the opportunity to check out the 100 Years of Fashion exhibition at the NGV and do a spot of shopping at my favourite store- H&M (I’m just a touch excited about this announcement). There may have also been a sneaky visit to the Lindt café involved too.

I’ve been really enjoying setting some goals and finding some direction in my life coaching sessions. We’re focusing on self care (working towards a healthier me) and nurturing my creativity and creating some strategic goals around my writing. The process is really interesting and I look forward to sharing more about it with you in the near future.

Other things I’ve been enjoying?

This month we’re booked in for some school tours…seriously we’re already at the point where we need to decide what school to send our son to next year…scary stuff! And we’ll be celebrating my Mums 60th Birthday- so it’s more busy times ahead!

What have you been up to lately? How are you celebrating Mothers Day? Are you as excited by podcasts, carpool karaoke and literary festivals as I am?

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Sunday Sessions

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Is it just me or did this week go by super fast? March already, seriously?! Melbourne clearly didn’t get the memo that Autumn has started with the majority of the week 30 plus degrees.

My week started off waking up in Kudos Villas, Hepburn Springs….

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It was our sixth wedding anniversary. Hubby and I take it in turns each year to organise a night away and this year it was my turn. Kudos Villas is ah-mazing (the photos don’t really do it justice). I think he’s going to find it hard to beat next year!

We spent Sunday strolling around Daylesford, checking out the market, antique stores and my favourite book shop. A perfect weekend.

This week I asked all the foodies out there for some help. Some really great suggestions were made to ease me into the world of cooking and food appreciation- I am currently stalking blogs and borrowed a bunch of cookbooks from the local library. Stay tuned for developments on this one.

I also wrote about my fear of flying, seems that many of you feel the same way. My plan is to load up with podcasts, books, magazines and anything else I can think of to distract myself on our flight to Port Douglas next weekend.

Who’s started their Easter shopping? Me! I usually buy the kids in our family PJ’s and an easter book plus some chocolate eggs. I’m trying to hold of on buying the eggs though because I know they will either a) melt or b) be eaten before Easter even arrives.

So how was your week? Anything exciting happen?

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