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Book Bargain Bonanza

I had a day off this week.  A glorious, nothing-scheduled, I-can-do-what-I-want day off.  Work has been very stressful, I’ve been having lots of migraines, and life just seemed a bit craptastic in general.  I’m always exhausted and just needed a break.  So, a day off was necessary, for my mental health if nothing else.

I got up early (not too early – it was a day off, after all!) and hit the op-shops.  I wanted to visit some I hadn’t been to before, and expand my “territory”.  I didn’t have much luck in finding anything good to start with, but eventually I hit book heaven at one particular Salvos store.  Lordy, lordy, they had the BEST book selection, AND it was in alphabetical order so you could actually search properly in the section you were interested in.

I am always on the lookout for Alice Hoffman titles.  She’s one of my favourite authors, but I never buy books new (who can afford them???!) so I have to wait until I find them in second hand shops.  Normally, I don’t find any of her books or, just as annoying, only ones I have already read and have in my shelf at home.  But on this day, dear readers, I found FIVE!  Woo!  I’d already read a couple of them, but I did snap up two for myself – White Horses, and The Museum of Extraordinary Things.  So happy!  I’m cross at myself because I left another one behind – Blue Diary – because I thought I had it at home, but then found that I didn’t.  You know you have too many books when you can’t remember what you have!  Hopefully it will still be there if I visit the shop again…but I’m glad to have found these two anyway 🙂

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Craft books are not always easy to come across in op-shops, and really nice ones are like hen’s teeth.  That’s why I was thrilled to find these two – French-Inspired Jewellery and The Adventurous Scrapbooker.  The latter has lots of off-the-page ideas for scrapbooks and similar projects.  I actually don’t like scrapbooking at all – I don’t do it and have never liked the concept of it – but there are always awesome ideas and techniques you can apply to other crafts.  So this book is great for that.  The jewellery book is gorgeous – not just for the pretty projects inside, but for the beautiful background layouts they have used for display.  Vintage papers and ephemera, ribbon and other embellishments make for beautiful pages, that are works of art in their own right.  So glad to have found this one!  Especially for the bargain price of $2.25!

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I love dogs.  I had them all my life, right up until I was in my 30s.  But now, with full-time work and a little house of my own, on my own, a dog just isn’t practical.  Maybe one day…sigh…  In the meantime, there are books like Rachel Hale’s 101 Salvations to keep me happy.  Rachel Hale’s photography is always a delight, and this book of doggy pictures is gorgeous.  I want to start doing some proper drawing and thought I might start with some canine-inspired sketches (might as well begin with a subject I know and love!) so I am hoping to use the photos as guides.  In any case, it is a beautiful book in excellent condition and, again, at only $2.25 – I’m sure the original RRP would have been well over $35.00 – I got another bargain.

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As I just mentioned, I am trying to improve my drawing skills (such as they are) and need all the help I can get.  So, with that in mind, I picked up this next book – You Can Draw in 30 Days. I’m not necessarily convinced I will only take 30 days, but hey, it’s a start.  I desperately want to be able to draw eyes so I am really hoping this book will help me.

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I also picked up a couple of titles for my Mum, who is a  voracious reader and is always running out of her own books to read.  So, all in all, a very successful visit to this particular op-shop.  I didn’t have room in my basket for anything else, which is probably a good thing.  Didn’t stop me from going to a few more op-shops afterwards though! 🙂

Hope you are having a good day – thank you for dropping by x

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Blogging Challenge – Day Twelve : Favourite Childhood Book

Howdy folks.  Yes, I am skipping challenges on the Blogging Challenge.  Just pretend you haven’t noticed ok?

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I was a big reader as a child.  From the age of six onwards, I always had my head stuck in a book.  I was the annoying kid in class who always finished the assigned reading way before schedule and had to be given other books to read while everyone else caught up.  Yeah, THAT kid.  I was like it in high school too.  It’s very possible I was the only one who actually READ the books we were assigned.  But I enjoyed them – everything from
Catch-22 to 1984, To Kill a Mockingbird and Animal Farm.  I loved them all.

My Mum always read to us when we were little and I suppose that’s why we always enjoyed books in general.  As a child, I loved stories with animals in them, but didn’t like anything scary or dark.  I remember one book I read gave me nightmares and actually made me physically ill so my Mum had to go to the school and asked for it to be removed from the library.  I don’t remember what it was called, but it was a book of so-called fairy tales, and it had one story in it where a witch rips the faces off pretty young girls so she could disguise herself as them and get up to mischief.  Kinda gross.   A less sensitive kid might not have been bothered by it, but it frightened me and my Mum took action ha ha.

I know I had a book about a dog called Barney, that my Mum used to read to me (until it fell to pieces) but I haven’t been able to find it since.  Another favourite was “The Golden Egg Book” by Margaret Wise Brown.  It too fell to pieces from being read to death.

When I was a bit older, I read voraciously on my own.  Enid Blyton was an early favourite, particularly the “Magic Faraway Tree” and “The Secret Seven” (my Mum won a set of these in an art competition when she was ten years old – I have them now 🙂 ).  I still secretly read Enid Blyton books, when I am needing some comfort or just to take some time out.  There’s a been a bit of a backlash about them in recent years, with regard to them not being very politically correct, but I love them.

Of course, Judy Blume was a HUGE favourite as I entered into that tricky pre-teen period.  My best friend and I loved her books and read all of them.  “Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret,” was probably devoured by more 10-12 year olds in the 80s than just about any other book ever written.

I also loved Ursula K. Le Guin and Paul Gallico, Beverly Cleary and Diana Wynne Jones.  I read all the classics – “Charlotte’s Web”, “Watership Down” (a little bit adult for me but I trudged through it when I was seven, not really understanding all of it I’m sure) and “Little Women”.

I read non-fiction too.  Mostly about animals and magic and art.  I Loved poetry and silly rhymes, and books about mysteries and fascinating facts.

I have a favourite children’s book now though.  It was given to me by a friend when I was in my twenties, and I dearly love it.  I would give it to my own children, if I had any, and have actually given it as a gift to friends and family (both children and adults).  My favourite children’s book is “A Little Bit of Winter” by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.  It’s just GORGEOUS.  The story of Rabbit and Hedgehog, best friends in the wood.  It’s Winter and Hedgehog has to go and hibernate.  Rabbit is worried that Hedgehog will forget about him during the long, cold months that Hedgehog is asleep.  Hedgehog himself does not know what Winter feels like and so they are both missing out on something.  It’s a story about friendship, mostly, but it is SO ADORABLE and the illustrations are the best.  I love it.  I have to do the voices when I read it, which is quite sad, but it’s just so darn cute.  There are other books in this series, but this one is my favourite.

Do you have a beloved children’s book that is dear to your heart?  There’s so many great ones out there, new and old, modern and classic.  Don’t let the kids have all the fun – try a few titles for yourself.  They’re comforting and calming and make you feel better about the world.  And, if you do have children of your own, get them in to reading early – it’s SO important.  My brother’s children all love to read and it makes my librarian heart proud. I’d be proud of them, whatever they did, but the fact that they love books and often can be found with their little heads buried in one is just icing on the cake.

Happy Reading Everyone x

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(Picture : The Book Depository)

Life-affecting books (that aren’t The Alchemist)

Life-affecting books (that aren’t The Alchemist)

(NB : I wanted to call this post “Life-Changing Books” initially, but then I thought that was probably over-doing it a little.  So, I have gone for the less grandiose title.)

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There are LOADS of books that people recommend you HAVE TO READ.  “It will change your life!!!” they exclaim, clutching the book and thrusting it at you with a mad glint in their eye.  These type of books always leave me a bit cold.  I have tried to absorb the same life-altering information that is contained in their pages, the way everyone else does.  But I find myself sighing a lot and rolling my eyes or just not GETTING what it is that I am supposed to get.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, is one such book.  I get the theme and the meaning of the book and the whole self-understanding and enlightenment and whatnot.  But it’s just whatnot to me.  Maybe I’m not very enlightened.  And I have to say, many of the people I’ve spoken to who’ve read the book and LOVED it, are probably some of the least enlightened people I know.

Then there’s The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle) which my GP actually recommended to me to stop me stressing and worrying and being mental.  And don’t get me started on Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert). I tried, I really did.  But, bloody hell, I just wanted to smack her.  I did watch the movie and actually found myself crying my eyes out, sitting on the floor eating a tub of ice cream, so it must have connected with me somewhere along the line.  But as something I would alter my life with? No. I should probably try reading it again – maybe I am ready now… I don’t dislike Elizabeth Gilbert and I do listen to her podcasts so maybe it’s time to have another crack at her writing.

There are other books which have made an impact on my life.  Books that actually changed the way I did things, or thought about things.  Books that simplified or amplified my life.  They may, or may not, have been best-sellers and they may not be found on any self-help shelf.  But they are books I return to again and again for help or inspiration, guidance or just plain solace from the world.

What Not to Wear by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine is an example.  I know you’re smirking right now.  You’re thinking “Pfft!  It’s hardly a book one counts as essential reading!” but I think you’d be wrong.  Sure, it’s hardly literary, but it DID help me dress better and for my figure, making it easier for me to find clothes that I look ok in.  I know what suits me now and what will make me look like a sack of potatoes.  I know what to cover and what to flaunt (although, I’m not much of a flaunter – still having trouble avoiding covering EVERYTHING up).  I know that baggy clothes make me look baggy.  I know that A-line skirts are my friend.  I back away from bias-cut dresses as though they were the anti-Christ.  I seek out V-necks and waist-cinching outfits.  I was able to hide and disguise my too-large-for-my-frame boobs because I knew how to dress them (and now, after my reduction surgery, I know what to wear to suit my new size).  It may sound silly, but it made a difference to me and my life.  It took away a teeny bit of anxiety and gave me one less thing to worry about.  Dumb as that may seem, it made life easier.

Simple Abundance : A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach is another book I have returned to time and time again.  I think I just enjoy reading it and pretending that my life could be authentic and beautiful and organised.  It talks about things that make life happier and more fulfilling, daily inspiration for creating your own sanctuary at home and at work.  It let’s you feel ok about still loving cute stickers, fairy tales and pretty notebooks and things that make you feel better, even if they’re considered childish by others.  It reminds you to be grateful, most importantly, and to hold your loved ones with both hands.  It talks about solitude and renewal and the power of a quiet cup of tea.  It may be out-dated in some ways but I still like to flick through its pages from time to time and escape into it. One day, I WILL have beautifully arranged linen closets with little sprigs of lavender and I WILL create a private space with a shrine for meditation that gives me strength and a place to be and just breathe.  Maybe not right now, but someday I will do more than just read about those things.

Another title that really helped me when I was desperate for guidance and help is The Loss of a Pet : a Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process When a Pet Dies by Wallace Sife, Ph.D.  I have spoken about this one before, when I loss my dear little guinea pig, Roderick, a few years ago.  I was so heartbroken and distraught and honestly didn’t know how to get through it.  I had lost other pets before and it is always traumatic, but Roderick was a little beacon of light in my life at a time when I was seriously lost and sad and, without him, the world seemed a much bleaker and lonelier place.  This book helped me to just acknowledge and accept my feelings as being perfectly OK and nothing to be ashamed of.  It let me grieve in a way that other people did not and gave me comfort.  Some psychologists I work with think it’s a terrible book – it has some old fashioned ideas (according to them) and talks about the stages of grief which is apparently an out-dated idea and not one that is currently practiced or supported.  Well, I’m not a psychologist (duh), but I know the book helped me, and I would recommend it to other people if they were grieving.

Still on the subject of our furry friends, Inside of a Dog : What Dogs See, Smell and Know by Alexandra Horowitz is a fascinating read.  Ever want to know what your dog is thinking, why he’s doing THAT and what he really needs to be a happy, healthy member of your pack?  This book is for you.  Written from a scientific-but-loving point of view, the book tells you everything you ever needed to know about the psychology of our canine buddies. Be prepared to change some of your annoying habits though (not everything is your dog’s fault – in fact, pretty much everything is your fault) and keep receipts if you like buying cute, little doggy outfits.  Trust me, you WILL be returning them.  And feel very, very bad about how you’ve made poor Fluffy/Toby/Jethro/Killer feel.

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I have loads of crafty, arty, creativity-oriented books.  Some I keep forever and refer back to, time and time again.  One such title is Card Art : Innovative Card-Making Designs by Stephanie McAtee and Emily Falconbridge.  When this book came out, it was difficult to buy craft titles that were different, that didn’t have the same old “Let’s stamp and emboss to make a card…” ideas that we’d all seen a million times.  Card Art has lots of ideas for using recycled bits and pieces, altered images, every day items and even discarded projects for creating awesome, unique cards.  I was so inspired by it and still am today.  It just encouraged me to think outside the box a little and be ok with imperfections and messiness, two things which, I think we can all agree, are pretty much staples in my life.

Another title on the crafty front is the wonderful Pretty Little Things by Sally Jean Alexander.  Pretty little things indeed, the projects in this book are so delightful and make me want to go out and make something IMMEDIATELY.  Sally Jean is a master of soldering, collage and all things vintage-inspired and beautiful.  She also has a lamp in the shape of a goose who watches over Sally’s studio.  That in itself is enough for me to call her my guru.  I did try my hand at soldering after first reading this book.  It didn’t go well but I am determined to give it another try again someday.  This book will inevitably be my inspiration again.

Yet another art-oriented book is The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery by Karen Michel.  I was excited to see this is my local 2nd-Hand bookstore recently and I picked it up for a bargain $5.00.  I have borrowed it from my library (back in the days when I borrowed books from libraries…until I learnt that I wasn’t responsible enough to bring them back on time and had to ban myself) many, many times and so having my own copy is pretty fab.  Karen leads you through lots of different methods of altering images (hence the title, duh) and using them on cards, collages and more.  I have used this book to inspire me to make some projects of my own and it has been a great help.  It’s another “step out of your comfort zone” kind of book, which I think we all need from time to time to shake us out of our usual safe routines.

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Onto a different topic now, with Dreams : Signs of Things to Come by Quentin Watts.  I think I have discussed before my unfortunate tendency towards having nightmares.  I have them a lot.  Always have done.  It is disturbing and downright terrifying at times, but I have had this problem since I was a child and have learnt to deal with it in my own way.  Something that helped me a great deal was Quentin’s book and radio show.  Being able to figure out what the cryptic messages in my nightmares meant has saved me many an hour in therapy.  It always helps a lot towards breaking through the terror that is experienced when having a really bad dream.  If you can wake up, write it all down and then work through it, it really does make a difference, and often means you don’t end up having the same dream over and over.  I have lots of dream-translating books, and some of them are pretty rubbish.  Any that make dreams out to be prophetic and predictive get the boot from my collection. Dreaming of a man holding an ice cream and wearing a chair on his head does not mean you are going to marry a dairy-goods baron and open a furniture store together.  It just doesn’t.  But it probably means something else is going on in your life that is making you dream silly things.  Or, you could just be craving ice cream.  Or your subconscious mind might be giving you a gentle nudge to remind you that your dining chair is about to break and that YOU REALLY NEED TO GET IT FIXED BEFORE SOMEONE HURTS THEMSELVES.  Probably Aunt Gladys, who is rather large due to her love of ice cream.  Anyway, Dreams is a good book (and so are Quentin’s other titles) and worth a read if you suffer from SDS (Silly Dream Syndrome) like I do.

Another book I have to mention is He’s Just Not That Into You  by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.  I know, I know, it was all hyped up and made into a movie and just another fad.  But, actually, it’s pretty awesome.  I wish I had read this BEFORE I started dating.  It would have made things so much easier.  Or, at least, would have given me a better understanding of why things happen and why guys act like they do, and how to have some idea of whether they really like you or if they just want to get in your pants.  I think because it is written by a guy, it just makes more sense and seems more candid and truthful.  The follow-up book, It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken, is also really good and actually helped me a lot.  It’s kind of like having a super-supportive friend who will also give you a slap in the face when you’re being an idiot.  I recommend both books.  You should read them whilst consuming vast quantities of ice cream, on the couch, in your pyjamas.  Mandatory.

In a similar vein, Rebuilding : When Your Relationship Ends by Dr Bruce Fisher and Dr Robert Alberti, is an excellent tool for helping you through a break up.  It’s easy to read, makes a lot of sense and I know lots of people who have been helped by this book – it was recommended to me by a friend who had been through a nasty divorce and I, in turn, have recommended it to others.  It’s not rocket science, but sometimes you need someone to actually talk you through the whole break up process and work through the feelings you’re experiencing and all that unpleasant stuff.  And sometimes you can’t afford a therapist ha ha.  So a book is the next best thing.  Possibly even a better thing, because you can cry and be weepy without having a human audience.  And it won’t judge you for wearing pyjamas or eating ice cream which, as we have already discussed, is an important part of the process.

So, there you have it, just a few titles that I would highly recommend you check out.  Maybe they won’t save the world or lead you to enlightenment, but they’re pretty good just the same.  Immediately after posting this, I will remember other titles that I should have included but, as it is late, I will leave it at that and save any additions for another day and another post.  Happy reading 🙂

(PS : I have written about some of my favourite novels before HERE)

Op Shopping Wins

Op Shopping Wins

I’ve been a bit naughty with my spending these last couple of weeks.  I hadn’t been shopping much for the last few months, mainly because I was trying to restore some of my savings after having to pay for my surgery. Besides that, I just wasn’t in the mood somehow.  I’d walk into a shop and lose interest in it by the time I’d made it past the first rack of stuff.  Even in op shops, which are normally a haven for me, I was disheartened and bored.

But that has all changed now, whether for the better or not.  My bank balance would probably say “not”.  I went op shopping a few times in the last ten days or so and picked up loads of things.  Like, LOADS.  A ridiculous amount of clothes (when I already have a wardrobe that is groaning under its own weight) and knick knacks.  Let me give you an example of one shopping trip – in one store alone, I bought 6 skirts, three tops, a dress, a pair of shoes and a jumper.  Like I said, ridiculous.

But I kinda let myself off because it is op shopping and so the prices are low and the money goes to charity.  So, really, I am being very selfless and thrifty!  Maybe?

So without further ado, here are a few of the items I bought this month:

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A fabulous turquoise ring.  It’s enormous.  Who would wear this as a ring???  I just wanted it for its beads…it was only $1.00.

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This good-quality, stoneware plant pot.  With a hole in the bottom.  I
hate it when pots have no drainage holes.  It’s so annoying.  It was $1.25, so even if it didn’t have a drainage hole, I would have bought it.  It’s nice and solid and I think the green will go well with something that has some bright flowers, or variegated leaves that add contrast.

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Stacks of magazines (teapot not included – I forgot to remove him before taking the photo) for 75c each.  I love magazines but they are so expensive now.  Why pay $10.00 for one when you can buy them for less than a dollar?

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This pretty grey and white floral top was only $4.50.  It’s a Portmans piece so would have been a lot more expensive than that originally.  Portmans is a shop I don’t even walk in to – I can’t afford their normal prices.  Because I am a tightwad basically.

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Black and white sheer and lace skirt.  This was $5.00 I think.  The sheer layer over the top covers the shorter one underneath.  I liked the lace details and the pattern.

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Another skirt.  Because I need them apparently.  This one is just a basic pencil skirt, but I really like the small-print floral and it is very comfortable to wear, especially on fat days ha ha.

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Um, another skirt.  I am still trying to figure out if it is brown or purple.  In the shop, I thought it was purple, then I got it home and decided it was actually brown.  Now I am just confused.  The lighting in my room is DREADFUL, so it could be bright green and I wouldn’t be able to tell.  It was also $5.00.  I liked the lace detail on the hem of this one also.  It came with this horrible brooch/chain thingy that was made from lace and ribbons.  Hideous.  That came off straightaway.

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Brown leather shoes.  I don’t normally buy or wear leather, but I will make an exception if the item is second hand.  I figure the damage has already been done to the poor animal.  Me buying these shoes isn’t going to make a lick of difference in the long run.  They’re a little big for me but comfortable and soft.  I might end up giving them to my Mum, if my leather-guilt gets too bad.  She has bigger feet than me so they will probably fit her better anyway.

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Got this cute little brooch for $1.00.  I looked the creator up online and the brooches normally retail for $30.00 each so I think I got a bargain.  I don’t even know if I will wear her, but she might go on a bag or something.  I might even re-gift her.  I’m not opposed to re-gifting things, within reason.  Don’t tell anyone…

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I actually got this book from a 2nd-hand bookstore in Margaret River.  I just liked the illustrations.  It was $7.00, which is more than I would normally pay for anything, but I got sucked in by the pretty pictures inside.

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These gorgeous yellow beads (from a huge necklace that was so heavy it could possibly give you scoliosis of the spine) were like a ray of sunshine to my yellow-bead-deprived heart.  I am always looking for this kind of yellow.  Not plastic or glass, I needed ceramic or clay ones.  And here they are!  And so many too!  They’re hand made and so each bead is a little different to the next, which I kinda like.  Although, if I am trying to make earrings from them, I will probably go insane trying to find a pair that matches.  These were $5.75.

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Finally (for this post anyway), this delightful little Stilton cheese pot.  Love the shape and colours and overall design.  I have no idea what I will keep in it.  It will probably just be a display item on my bookshelves.  It was only $3.00.  I can even see me planting a succulent in it, although that would render the lid a bit redundant.  I just liked it.  It’s cute 🙂  So there.

So, just a few of things I bought this month.  I am not quite sure where this spending frenzy is coming from but it is best not to fight it.  That could get messy and lead to whining and possibly the over-consumption of cookies/cake/insert bad food of choice here.  I think I am also sub-consciously putting off starting the process of buying a house.  I have given myself a year to make a decision about it and the months are already dwindling away and I am no closer to even STARTING to think about it.  Sigh.  It’s too grown-up a decision for me to make without hyperventilating and coming out in hives.  Op-shopping is safer and cheaper and downright nicer.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it,.

🙂

Books, Bargains and Freo

Books, Bargains and Freo

Aghhghghhh!  A whole month has gone by and I have to go back to work tomorrow!  Ugh!  So unfair!  Why didn’t I win the lottery in that time?  Possibly because I didn’t buy a ticket, but hey, let’s not let reason and sense get in the way here!  I can’t believe four weeks has passed and I have little to show for it.  OK, so I have new-ish boobs (or, at least, smaller ones) which are healing nicely, thank you, but not much else has been accomplished.  To be fair, I wasn’t able to do much for the first couple of weeks, being sore and ouchy and so tired (I think my body just went “Ahhhhhhhhh” and wanted to recuperate and rest and sleep) but, really, I was hoping to get a few more things done.  To be honest, it was nice to be forced to relax and NOT do anything.  I actually read three whole books.  Woo!  I love reading but never take the time these days to actually curl up with a book and spend a hour or three lost in its pages.  I read “Sufficient Grace” by Amy Espeseth (oh so good – I couldn’t put it down), “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd (also excellent – my Mum read it straight after me and she loved it too), and “The End of the Alphabet” by C. S. Richardson (Oh, such a sad but beautiful book.  I finished it in a morning.   I made my Mum read this too and she also cried ha ha.  We are a pathetic pair).

These final few days, as I went into “Oh God I have to go back to work!” panic mode, I tried to pack as much entertainment and activity as possible, so as not to waste the time.  A couple of days were spent getting my house in order, doing mundane things like ironing, tidying up and sorting out paperwork (who am I kidding?  I just ended up watching thrifting haul videos on Youtube! There was no tidying or sorting!) and trying to get ready for the routine of the working week.

On Tuesday, I met my cousin for lunch and spent a nice afternoon with her, chatting and eating too much.  We dined at Yocal, one of my absolute fave places to eat.  Their menu is excellent – lots of vego and vegan choices, reasonably priced and the staff are super friendly.  It’s hip and cute and the food is DELICIOUS!  My cousin and I shared the Mushroom and Haloumi burger – so yummy!

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On Wednesday, after having my dressings removed and surgical wounds checked to make sure they were healing ok (they were, thankfully), I did a bit of op-shopping with Mum.  We visited 3 or 4 stores but neither of us had any luck in finding anything.

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We also went to a second-hand book store and found a few bargains there.  I got some nice decorating and craft books plus a handy guide to succulents.  I particularly liked the title of one of the books :

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Mum got some lovely gardening titles and a couple of novels.  We visited IKEA and had lunch before grabbing a few bits and pieces (can’t leave IKEA without getting SOMETHING) including some awesome journals with lovely blank pages, perfect for journaling or drawing or painting or whatever! (We just like notebooks – it’s a sickness).

On Thursday, Mum and I went down to the port town of Fremantle for the day.   Lots of lovely shops, markets and places to eat.  Our first stop was East West Design  – a treasure trove of furniture and home wares from every corner of the globe.

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We had not been before, but the owner is a friend of my cousin’s, so I had heard about it and was keen to have a look.  Oh Mylanta!  So many pretty things!  And it went for miles and miles!  The stock was floor to ceiling, pretty much, in a huge warehouse-size shop, with every taste catered for.  I spotted a cute little shelving unit, white and so pretty, as soon as I stepped in the door.  I really had to convince myself not to buy it, but in the end I knew I really had nowhere for it in my little house.  However, Mum did purchase a matching magazine rack that was really nice and will look great in her place.

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She also got a Buddha head – she’s been searching for one for ages.  It’s for her garden – this one was just the right size and colour and an amazingly inexpensive price.  Perfect.  The one pictured below was a very large version – nearly as tall as me and weighed a tonne (a bit like me ha ha).  It was $900…a bit out of our price range but I would love to have had it in MY garden!  Oh well, I know where to get one from if ever I come into money!

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Afterwards we pottered around Fremantle and had a look in some little shops, including the Oxfam store, which always has some lovely things.  Mum is currently redecorating her lounge room in blue and white so her eye was quickly drawn to the goodies on display here.  She ended up buying a little candle holder – so pretty and the blue is just right (you can see it in the photo below – second from the right, top right corner).

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Fremantle itself has some lovely street art, decorating even the most mundane of items, like rubbish bins and plant boxes.  Check out these gorgeous mosaic planters :

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I noticed that the majority of shops and cafes also had these recycled wood plant boxes – so rustic and chic! :

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 Even the boring old bollards on the corner of the street were jazzed up :

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We had a lovely day just walking around and window shopping, before heading home to beat the traffic.

Wish we could have more days like this – it’s so nice to just wander around, having nowhere you need to be and nothing urgent that needs doing.  If only pesky work didn’t get in the way all the time!

So it’s back to the grind for me tomorrow.  I am looking forward to seeing my workmates but not relishing the idea of getting up when it is cold and dark.  Ugh.  I should have been practicing my “getting up when the alarm goes off” routine but, alas, I have been sleeping in super late every day.  Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get used to the daily drudgery soon enough!

🙂

52 Books…

52 Books…

I have been encouraged by some library friends of mine to take part in the “52 Books in 52 Weeks” challenge.  The idea is simple enough – read one book a week, every week of the year.  I am going to try my hardest to do this – I read quite a bit but it is, at times, sporadic and not as regular as it should be, given that I LOVE books and have fifty bazillion of my own.  Last year, at the annual Save the Children Fund Book Sale in my area, I bought 30 books.  In one day. And then went back a day later and bought 25 more.  So, y’know, I am not lying when I say I love books and reading. My Mum is also the same, thank goodness, so, if anything, I can blame it on her and her genes.

Anyway, as I was saying, I am taking part in this challenge.  I don’t know if I will manage it because sometimes I just don’t get time to sit and read, but then I suppose it is up to me to MAKE time and just do it.  I’ve never been one to read before I go to bed but it might be time to start.  Maybe not IN bed, as that would probably give my insomnia another reason to make night time a non-sleep time, but just before, snuggled up in the lounge room or something.

I’m already 3/4 way through my first book, “Short Friday” by Isaac Bashevis Singer and hope to finish it tonight.  I’m not taking on huge books – I just won’t finish them in time, but I’m also not going to worry too much if I go over the time limit by a day here or there.  I don’t want to read books just for the sake of it and I want to make sure I take the story in, instead of skipping over bits just so I can fit them in to my schedule.

So, wish me luck – by the end of the year I might have read 50+ books or only half that, maybe less, but I am going to give it a red hot go and try and learn a little a long the way, try and read some different authors and genres.

Here’s a few links relating to the challenge that may explain it more than I have, or maybe just give you some inspiration and titles to start with.

read52booksin52weeks

life hack

good reads

Let me know if you too are taking on the challenge – I’d be interested to know any good titles you recommend 🙂

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Bookmarks & Breakfast

Bookmarks & Breakfast

Hubby and I went to breakfast this morning.  One of our favourite restaurants is The Precinct, a local pub/coffee/foodie bar.  It has beautiful food (of the very-tiny-and-just-a-bit-posh variety) and decent coffee and an ever-changing menu.  There is usually something for us vegos on there and we’ve been numerous times and never had a bad meal.  They have gorgeous desserts (most of which I can’t have because they involve chocolate) and an awesome range of “bar snacks” like home-made potato chips, rosemary popcorn and, um, biltong (jerky) which is gross if you ask me (but then you probably wouldn’t ’cause I’m vegetarian).  The place has a trendy, retro feel and they use a lot of recycled bits and pieces for their cutlery holders, plates, water bottles and even the menus are printed on recycled paper.

This morning I went fairly plain and just had some slow cooked eggs on toast with a home-made hash brown (sneaky!  who ordered that?  Oh yeah, I did!) and a nice cup of English Breakfast tea.  It was simple and not so exciting but hit the spot nevertheless.  I’m pretty simple and non-exciting myself!

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Hubby had been hanging out to try the new waffle plate dish which consisted of waffles (duh), maple syrup and a dark chocolate egg filled with a white chocolate/citrus dipping sauce.  He also got a hash brown (to help off-set the sweetness a little he says) and a coffee.

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Afterwards, we headed home for a pretty lazy Sunday.  It was nice to just hang out at home, hubby watching tv and me doing crafts and making a mess (ha!).  I made a bunch of jewellery – earrings, pendants that I will post pics of later – and a few little beaded bookmarks.  I’d seen these in a recent issue of Molly Makes and thought I could give them a go.  I didn’t have all the right materials – should have used velvet ribbon for a more luxe look and had a wider end clasp – but I used up some charms I hadn’t found use for elsewhere and I kinda like the finished product as I first try.  I will pick up some more supplies today and have a go at making some “better” ones.

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This little Aussie Echidna and Gum Tree Bookmark might be a good one to send as a gift to overseas rellies.

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You know I love anything with birds on…and I like the fresh “Spring” colours and theme on this one.

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This one was the first one I made and it might be a little bit lightweight and sparse…it might need a bit of tarting up with some extra beads or bling.  Like the mauve gingham though.

Anyway, I am glad to have found a new project that is quick and easy to do, not expensive and uses up all those leftover beads and charms.  Two thumbs up!

Hope you are having a happy Sunday (or Monday, as it now for me!) and get to enjoy some quiet time at home with your loved ones.  I had a job interview on Friday so now the anxious wait to see if I got the position.  Wish me luck! 🙂