Wednesday 25 November 2020

Gifts for the hard to buy for - #XmasLinky

I will say upfront that none of these are sponsored and these are what I am actually giving people so if you are one of my friends in real life, maybe stop reading now.


From the makers of 1st World Problems, a brilliant game on Australian politics. You can play as simply a card game and attempt to win the election but for older players, reading about the political shenanigans is hilarious. For overseas players, it is 100% all true* - you won't believe it! Buy here $40 - bonus is you'll have a mirth inducing game for lockdown should that happen again!

*Could be my faulty memory playing tricks on me...but it all seems vaguely familar

2. Mr Consistent Margarita Mix

Bar quality margarita without the effort. You need to add the tequila and pour over ice if you can't be bothered doing the shaker thing. Buy here $30 + postage. 

3. Pocket Change Collective

These little books are great essays written by activists to get people of all ages thinking. Prices vary but you should be able to get them from your bookseller from between $13-$15, depending on sales.

4. Native Jingles Chocolate

The chocolate is a taste of Australia that also gives back to Indigenous communities. While shopping online, look at the lovely balms and lotions too....$12.99.

5. Grace Petrie Pin

The wonderful singer Grace Petrie has some great merch at Bandcamp. The Pin is very cheap but there's also tees and cups...but in UK so get on it quickly.

6. Uplift Fair Trade

These bracelets are $15 and simply gorgeous. They come in a range of colours. The other cute little gift are the wooden Snowmen - Small for $5.50, Medium for $10  or large for $13

Hopefully there's a few ideas there to get you started!

Add your Xmas themed posts below for #XmasLinky

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Navigating Baby

Nature's Spotlight

 I don't know if our air pollution is right down due to COVID, but last night the moon was spotlighting the Opera House in a way I've never seen before.

Our moon is glorious in so many ways.

It can usually make me smile.

Linking with #TravelTuesday (Was looking for something else and stumbled across this shot of the Sydney Opera House)

It feels good to be back....

Those of you who follow my Insta will know I used to spend a lot of time at the Opera House. I did, until February 13th, my last visit there before the world changed completely.

Until last night.

I went back for an hour long show. Spaced and in a mask.

I was elated.

I went early for my usual treat, a negroni at Portside (followers of Insta will recognise that as my usual photo op with the Harbour Bridge as the backdrop) but alas as they're only open for dinner, I had to settle for a cocktail at Opera Kitchen instead (if I have to make do, that's still a good way to 'settle').

I have tickets to some talks there on the weekend.

It's not exactly the same. It's a little strange but it feels so good to be back. And it feels good to be looking forward to going back again.

What are you loving this week?

Linking with #MCoW #TravelTuesday #WednesdayAroundTheWorld #WordlessWednesday #WWOT #OurWolrdTuesday #ThruMyLens #WonderfulWednesday and #SundayBest

Friday 20 November 2020



Like the sun rising higher in the sky, dappling a path of gold towards me,
I am watching the country slowly turn a little faster.
The streets are busier, the people are appearing,
but still tentative in numbers.
May the end of 2020 see a confidence and enthusiasm just on the horizon, 
ready to burst forth in full colour.

Thursday 19 November 2020

Taking Stock - November

 What a year this has been. Started off escaping the smoke and fires, being chased by a polar bear (for real), and then watching the whole world grind to a halt from my bedroom window...or at least the backyard. Now we're out and 'ramping up' tentatively but suspecting poor decisions by the Govt will mess this up for us soon. Fingers crossed we don't head back to lockdown because we opened up all the internal borders or ditched the hotel quarantine for incoming travellers...

After that cheery introduction, I'll take stock for the last time in this weird year that I hope to put behind me. 

Drinking :
Finally the end of the Negroni season, treating myself to Mr Consistent Margaritas and the humble Gin & Tonics....

Reading: Still on Symphony for the city of the dead which I'm loving, and listening to 30 Rock and Philosophy on Audible. Hoping to give Ken Follett a try soon - but they're all so long....aaaaaah!

Wanting: Life to go back to normal (or better than normal) and this virus to be something we forget about.

Looking: forward to some nice dinners out with good friends in the lead up to the party-less 'festive seasons'.

Wasting: Time. Very unfocused at the moment.

Enjoying: The Queen's Gambit. Also just started Fleabag - yes, I'm a million years behind everyone.

Wearing: Fab sneakers with pretty much everything.

Waiting: On some short story responses. Got 4 out there...

Loving: Playing the World Cup of Painters. Currently the Russians look set to meet France in the finals...

Needing: Very little, truth be told. 

Wondering: Why I took so long to get back for lunch and a swim at my favourite place in Sydney?

Smelling: Gardenias. Like a drug. Stopping and sniffing every time I walk the dog.

Feeling: Up and down - crazy highs and then blah. Not sad, not depressed just a little gloomy that this stuff will continue forever and people will suffer.

Listening: To this song and singing along because it makes me happy (even though lyrically it's a total that's weird). Note some swears so NSFW and the word masturbate - not sure if that also is a NSFW or just biology so okay? Hmmm.

Opening: Lots of parcels for Christmas gifts for others.

Eating: This gold gingerbread toffee pudding from David Jones.

Wishing: You all a safe and hopefully COVID permissible holiday season.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Countdown to Christmas - Advent Calendars

One thing I love about Christmas, is the advent calendars. Which is weird but I suspect it's to do with the little daily surprises, more than anything else. They feel luxurious. I make two of my friends Advent calendars and I give a few commercial ones as 'early Christmas presents'.

There are some for all budgets but here's a few that I like:

If money was no object, the Kiehl's Advent Calendar would be my pick, or the Benefit 12 days. L'Occitane is always a winner too. However, this year for me, I've got the T2 loose tea advent calendar. Note there is also one for bags.

Nourished Life has a great range of Tea Advent Calendars too, in the $21-$24 price range. 

In the chocolate department, both Lindt and Kinder have some cute offerings this year.

Lush also have some big budget Advent offerings in that wishlist pile.

There is also a lovely little Sharing Kindness advent calendar, and I'm not sure what is in it, but it looks lovely. 

You can of course organise your own reverse advent calendar and make advent better for others, rather than yourself.

My favourite, however, is still my now 20 year old Playmobil calendar that I put together every year and we excitedly set the scene as it unfolds daily, even though all surprises are long gone through familiarity. There's nostalgia of when my kids each saw magic in it, and just the all around cuteness of it. Sometimes I guess it's the tradition that's special, not the thing itself.  This tradition is a small hug with the past.

Do you love the Advent calendars or do you think this 'gifts to count down to the gifts' is too much?

Linking with #NanaHood #FriendshipFriday and #UnlimitedMonthLinkParty

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“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett

 I read these words on someone's blog yesterday, and I thought I'd tuck them away for a friend who is currently getting a great book idea (with a really great title) out to publishers. His first knock back hurt and it took a few days to recover but he was proud that he finally shot it out to another agent. (I'm his cheer squad - or perhaps annoying, pushy person that keeps hassling him, but whatever).

I had recently written a story for the 8-11 year old market, purely because I never had. I found out yesterday I didn't make the list of 20 finalists and had that pang of disappointment we know so well. However, this time was different. After about 10 minutes, I thought of those words of Beckett, you know, the author who was originally published in two different languages (and translated into many more). And I felt fine. I immediately sent the story off elsewhere for it is a good little story though possibly not connecting with that age market, as I'm a little unsure of what I'm actually doing there.

In Ali Wong's book, Dear Girls, she talks about being prepared to bomb. She advocates you will learn more by going in front of crowd of strangers who don't care about you and react in truth, than in a class where the audience is other comedians and their loved ones and want to be kind.  I think that's the trick. It doesn't matter if you get rejected a million times, as long as you learn a little from it (preferably in the form of actual feedback, so you aren't guessing what went wrong). I hope I can keep this ease of rejection as the new normal level of emotional reaction.

I am aware the Beckett poem is not actually as motivational as it gets bandied about as, but if having your work still performed and enduring 70 years later as well as winning the Nobel Prize for Literature is failure, I'll happily take it.

So this week I'm loving cheerful optimism in the face of rejection (delusional optimism perhaps? No matter).

What are you loving this week?

Linking with #WritersDen

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Friday 13 November 2020

Use it or lose it.

 Long time readers or followers on Insta will know COVID has shut down my ventures into the arts (me and the whole world's) and had a huge impact on my way of life. So when a friend asked if I wanted to see Sarah Blasko, I said yes. When she then said "I didn't think she'd be your type of music?" I had to admit I had never heard her music but didn't really care at this point. Was close by in Newtown and with friends. That was enough. (Humorously, I actually thought the support act was her until she introduced herself, though it did explain why she wasn't playing the grand piano that was taking up the stage).

It was a very intimate and well spaced gig at the Old 505 Theatre and part of the Great Southern Nights initiative (well done, NSW Govt and Visit NSW). 

We were very close and I became quite mesmerised by the 'ghost hands' playing. Because I've apparently forgotten all the rules of social behaviour, I wasn't sure about the taking photo rules, so I took two sneaky ones at the end - apologies for quality. Ghost hands are very beautiful. I feel I want to write a poem or story about them. For now it's just a rambling blog post for #Awwmonday #PicturePerfectLinkParty #WonderfulWednesday #WeekendReflection., #WWOAT and #TheRandom

 If you're in NSW, get out and see someone, even if you've never heard of them before. For now, all we can do, is all we can do and if we don't use it, we lose it. Both artists and venues alike. There's over a 1000 gigs to choose from, so definitely something for everyone.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

“A harvest of peace is produced from a seed of contentment.” Proverb

 Rather uneventful week, but next week will be fun. We had a lovely weekend away last weekend  and I wrote two stories so all in all, things are good. Quiet but good, and in these still weird times, that's all you can ask for.

I am sending cards and small gifts to friends in locked down countries overseas, in hope of giving them a little lift in what must be a pretty dire situation. It just all feels a little weird to be thinking about it all, truth be told.  I am going through the motions but not really feeling it. 

As for what I'm loving? Today I listened to Aaron Sorkin on 'The Trial of the Chicago 7' on Fresh Air. It's got some good tips for writers (know what story you are telling, and write what you enjoy writing, not necessarily what you like reading) and a good summary of the issues in the US today.

I have another timed story competition this weekend so I'm excited about that.  

Maybe that's the secret to contentedness? Having something you enjoyed and something to look forward to, because I'm feeling pretty happy at the moment with absolutely no way to explain it.  I know it's as ephemeral as footsteps in the sand (unsubtle segue to the photos) but the trick is to relish it while you're feeling it.

"The tide comes in. The tide goes out. We're always on our way somewhere, even when standing still". Bill Willingham

Linking with  #WWOAT #ThruMyLens #AllSeasons #NaturesNotes #DND and #AnythingGoes

My Random Musings

Sunday 8 November 2020

The #XmasLinky

 Every year, for the 6 weeks in the count down to Christmas, I host a link up on Friday's for your Christmas themed posts. I'm feeling a little uninspired to do so, but will go through the motions because why not? So on Friday until Monday, link up your festive posts here and get the cheer out.

My collection for Share the Dignity's It's in the bag campaign is usually my official kick off for the festive season and I'll start stringing the lights in the garden (as Halloween is usually the start of the party season for us, but alas this year, with number restrictions and COVID, it won't be happening...but it may as well LOOK like it's for one in my head and all that).

Get the word out, spread the Christmas cheer and your ideas to get festive. Let's see if we can gee ourselves up to find some Christmas spirit in what will no doubt be the weirdest Christmas around the world ever (and that first one was pretty strange if you think about it, so that's a huge call!)

I will delete non Christmas posts, so please keep it themed in some way).

Spreading the word on #AnythingGoes and #TheRandom

My Random Musings

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Wednesday 4 November 2020

Getaway - Share my Snaps!

Can you believe this is in Sydney?

 Anyone who follows my Insta will know we've had a few getaways, where the weather has been less than ideal. However, when you're away, there's little work to do and just a different view out the window can make all the difference.

Here's to beaches, birds and blue skies for everyone.

We even got in plenty of wildlife visits from the kind of friendly natives...(linking with #AwwMondays for the little one on the left!)

Plenty of golf, tennis, volleyball and boogie boarding. And long walks on the beach!

Wanting a getaway? These photos are taken at Currawong and Culburra. 

Further details for Currawong and Culburra are here. And we also stayed here in Culburra- a good one for the rainy weekend we had. 

Fingers crossed the sun is out on Saturday, as we're off to yet another beach house...