17 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For

I love catch ups with girlfriends. It can be hard to coordinate schedules, especially with work, husbands, partners, kids... Even though I myself am single, most of my close girlfriends aren't. But I love it when we do get together, be it for a quick coffee at work, dinner, book club or motivating each other at the gym.

I had a lovely coffee catch up with a work friend who has been on leave today, and I get to have dinner this Friday with one of my closest friends and her new baby.


16 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I don't read stuff just because it's popular. If fact I'm opposed to people reading something just because everyone else is. Proof - I haven't read Harry Potter. I haven't read Twilight. I figure, if I read the blurb and am not interested, why waste my time? 

So I didn't plan to read "Fifty Shades of Grey". I was, in fact, vehemently against it. I still really don't know why I succumbed. And then I toyed with the idea of not admitting to having read it. But I have an ambitious 2012 reading challenge and I did read it so it's going on the book count.

The writing - I wasn't a fan. I found it repetitive, unimaginative... Got a bit sick of the constant 'oh my', 'my sex', eye rolling and lip biting. Gasping and breath hitching. Find a new phrase! Geez. When you're writing 500+ pages, you can't say the same thing on each and every one, and sometimes multiple times a page. 

Ana. Really? A 21 year old university student, without a computer, and borrowing her housemates laptop. I'm sorry, but a) explain to me how you get through an entire degree using a borrowed laptop, and b) why the hell did the housemate not get shirted off with the constant borrowing before graduation?? Innocence is one thing, but this was beyond belief.  

And Christian. Complete creep. Ugh. That's all I have to say. 

However... couldn't put it down (and I'm a little upset at myself about this!). Done in 3 days. And I will say that I didn't expect the ending. Will probably read the other 2 as I bought them as a set so already have them.

Have to say I think I was a little ambitious trying to do a month of gratitude posts! Not to say that I've run out of things to be grateful for, just a difficult task. Or maybe it's me. I'm also having a go at #photoadayJuly on Instagram... and find myself taking the photos, but winding up posting about every 3 days. Maybe commitment is my issue... 


Have you read the Fifty Shades trilogy? What did you think? 

10 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #9

I love chocolate. I have no control around it. None. So right now I am grateful there is none in my house, as I would devour it all!

Aaaah. Will have to make do. Cuppa tea anyone?


08 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #8

OK, so this one is gonna be me trying to gain some appreciation.

Today was the Melbourne RCNA Nursing Expo. Geared towards undergraduate nursing students, it is a giant "COME AND WORK AT MY HOSPITAL" promotion. Fun the first year you participate, after that the appeal wanes somewhat. This is my fourth year of being involved. "Involved" meaning "having to give up my lovely sunny Sunday afternoon to talk about work"

Soooooo, I am turning it around and saying I am grateful that I have a job. There are aspects of said job that I find less than appealing, but for the most part I enjoy it. As a nurse, there will always be a job for me, somewhere. And the good points are pretty awesome. Nursing can mean a wide variety of different jobs - hospital based, community based, academic. I can work full time, one day a fortnight, or anything in between. It is transferable - I can do it where I live now, or move just about anywhere. I can do it overseas should I desire.

I appreciate the fact that I am employed. Means I can pay my rent, buy food, and fund my obsession with books.


Do you like your job? Do you love your job? What about it? 

Things I Am Grateful For #7


I am grateful that coffee exists. I don't think I would be able to get through early mornings or long days without it! 

And it smells soooooooooooo good....


Think I'm going to go make a coffee. Anyone want one? 


06 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #6

Today I am grateful for MUSIC

It makes yucky things more bearable. It makes happy times more joyful. It makes time pass much quicker when doing things like computer work, at the gym, going for a walk, doing housework, cooking dinner... 

It helps me think, and can also help me stop thinking, help to turn my over working, over analysing brain off. I love lots of types of music, and lots of different singers, bands, genres. At the moment I am loving Norah Jones, Missy Higgins, Ed Sheeran, Train, and Prince. 

Play it loud! Sing along! Dance! 


What is your favourite song? Who is your favourite band/singer? 

05 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #5

Today I am grateful for Winter! We are really in the middle of it now, and the nights are cold, the mornings are cold, the evenings are cold. 

How do I cope? I have a lovely warm doona, heat packs, hot showers (even if the hot water only lasts about 3 minutes, it's a blissful 3 minutes!), tea, coffee and hot chocolate, and a heater in my office ;)

I am very much opposed to the overheating, sweating, heavy air of a humid summer, so for what it's worth, winter can stay in my house for as long as it likes!


What is your favourite season?

04 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #4

My body.

A work in progress.

A constant source of self esteem issues.

But today I am grateful for the fact that my body is strong. It is healthy. It is functional. It can climb stairs, ride a bike and drive a car. It has it's issues - but they're pretty minor.

And, it has to be said - reading "Fifty Shades of Grey" has made me much more aware of certain parts of it ;)


03 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #3

Hello there!

OK so today was pretty average. In fact so average that by the time I left work I was fuming, looking forward to stomping my way home and then ranting about it all on facebook and twitter. So I got home. Turned the heater on (because I now have a functioning one, yay!), made dinner (fine, cracked out the take away I'd bought on the way home), turned the TV on, and sat on the couch. I took my #photoadayjuly photo - "The Best Part of My Day". Today - my Ugg boots. And Masterchef, but that didn't photograph as well as my comfiest slippers. 

Over the course of changing into my trackies, eating dinner, cheering on Kylie on Masterchef, and checking emails, I breathed. Consciously. Slowly. And despite retaining some feelings of irritability, I realised that it's just not worth it. Some people don't think, don't consider others - and my getting annoyed about it isn't going to change them. And ultimately, it's not important enough to give myself a migraine over. Over time, as I've grown up (UGH! Did I really just say that...?) I've gained some perspective. Some things matter, some things don't. Some things don't really matter but you have the ability to change them. Some things do matter, but you can't change them. So you learn to deal. And breathe. 

In the scheme of things, I'd go so far as to say for the most part, the things that annoy me on a day to day basis I won't even remember in 10 years time. 5 years time. 6 months time.

So, today, I am grateful for my own ability to thoroughly contemplate, consider, and calm down rather than blowing up, or acting in an irrational fashion that would only showcase a lack of maturity in me, and that I would undoubtedly regret later.

See? I'm getting better! I'm learning the things!

Oh yeah, and "Winners and Losers" for some escapism TV... ;)


02 July 2012

Things I Am Grateful For #2

Day 2 of reminding myself that life is GREAT!!

Today I am grateful for trustworthy tradies*. I am renting my apartment, and sometimes struggle to get maintenance done in a timely fashion. Now, little things generally get done quickly, but bigger jobs I tend to have to push for. Like the time my oven blew up... but that's a whole different post. Anyway, my heater retired permanently the first time I turned it on this (very cold) winter. Approximately 6 weeks ago. I began by ringing the rental agency twice a week, then three times a week, and finally, after calling daily for a fortnight, I got a call from the landlord asking if they could bring a guy over to quote for a split system. This happened on Wednesday. They came on Thursday. He said he could install on Friday - alas, I am to be out of town Thursday evening through Sunday. 

So the landlord agrees to oversee the installation. 

After leaving town, I discover the landlord is giving heater installer man my key and letting him go about his business. 

So I spend 3 days in fear of coming home to an empty apartment with the front door swinging wildly, I return. Not only to find the heater installed - a marvellous sight - but the tradie had returned my living room to it's natural state (I had moved the furniture out of the way prior to leaving) but he had also vacummed. AND, followed up with a phone call today - the Monday following installation - to check all was working properly.

Yes, he did. Lovely man. 


*Disclaimer: I have had no real experience that leads me to distrust tradies. In fact my brother is a tradie, a very trustworthy one with a high work standard. However, he knows some that give the majority a bad rap, and also, my parents have had some less than stellar results with unsupervised work being done. I have, of course, had the experience of taking a day off work only to have a tradie turn up 4 hours after pre-arranged time. Without calling. Grrr. Overall, though, it is just a general dislike of having people I do not know be given keys to my house without my approval. 

01 July 2012

Things I am grateful for #1

OK so it's been a while since I've posted. To be honest I have been reading, but I just haven't felt the drive to squeal about any of the books I've read. 

Sooooooo, I thought I would challenge myself to post every day for a month of things that I am grateful for. It's getting to that time of year when everyone's flu-ey, it's cold and wet, we're all due for some holidays (or at least a little weekend getaway) and I wanted to try to turn myself around by reminding myself that really, I have it pretty damn good. I have a roof over my head, employment, warm clothes, food to eat, a loving family and some amazing friends. And I'd best stop there or I'll have nothing to write about for the rest of the month! 

Aaaanyhoo, for today I'm going to start the month off by saying that I'm grateful for my family. I spent the weekend at home (about 2 hours from where I live), and got to see my sister, one of my brothers (and his girlfriend), and my wonderful parents. Mum took me out for lunch for a little mother / daughter catch up and a spot of retail therapy. We drank lots and lots of cups of tea :)


I bought a maxi dress, a warm woolly cardi, and "The Hypnotist's Love Story" by Liane Moriarty (because I need more books...) We had a lazy Saturday night in with a movie - "The Vow". 


Then this morning we had a lovely leisurely brunch where I had a lovely homemade muesli which has inspired me to make some of my own, and mum sent me home this afternoon with a bulging bag of groceries. 


What are you grateful for? If you'd like to join in my month of things you're grateful for, post them below, or do your own and post a link in the comments section! 

28 May 2012

2012 So Far

After reading back over my previous post, I thought I'd go back to my Goodreads page to see exactly what I've read this year. I love the reading challenge they do, and this year I set myself a goal of 100 books...  Ambitious, I know!

I was hoping doing this would push me to get through a good chunk of books I want to read (and the rather full shelf beside my bed). Instead, in the interest of pushing the numbers up, I seem to have read a few more of the 'junk food' books than I intended, and less of the better-for-me and more substantial 'meat & 3 veg' type. Ahem. I must work on that.

What have I read this year? I am actually 34 down! Which puts me in the position of being - according to the Goodreads counter, I'm 6 books behind. Aaargh.  

So here's the (chronological, not alphabetical) list so far. Along with - and including - the *cough* four *cough* that I have reviewed:

  • The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide
  • Personally, I Blame my Fairy Godmother by Claudia Carroll
  • Night World III by L.J. Smith
  • I Heart Paris  by Lindsey Kelk
  • I Heart Vegas by Lindsey Kelk
  • I Heart Hollywood by Lindsey Kelk
(Yeah I had a bit of a 'power through 'em' moment there)
  • Letter From Chicago by Cathy Kelly
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • Her Last Letter by Nancy C. Johnson
  • A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess
  • A Song in the Daylight by Paullina Simons (see review)
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt (see review)
  • Dreaming of Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly (see review)
  • Lola's Secret by Monica McInerney
  • The Dating Detox by Gemma Burgess
  • Words That Matter by Oprah's Magazine Editors
  • Daughters of Fortune by Tara Hyland
  • Making it Big by Lyndsay Russell  (see review)
  • Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia
  • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  • The Perfect Holiday by Cathy Kelly
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
  • Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
  • Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs
  • The Passage by Justin Cronin
  • Incendiary by Chris Cleave
  • Nobody's Girl by Sarra Manning
  • Mr. Darcy Forever by Victoria Connelly
  • Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning
  • The Understudy by David Nicholls
  • The Memory Tree by Tess Evans
  • Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

Phew! I've actually read more than I thought I had. 

Some I liked - The Secret History, A Song in the Daylight, A Visit from the Goon Squad, Before I Go To Sleep, The Passage, Incendiary, The Memory Tree

Some light hearted fun / romance / quick reads - the 'I Heart's', Lola's Secret, Garden Spells, the Mr. Darcy's, the Phryne Fishers (more to come)

And some I didn't like so much. At times I don't like the fact that I can't just put a book down, I keep thinking "I must keep going, I must give it a(nother) chance, It might get better!" Fairy Godmother, I'm looking at you. And they usually don't. These ones also include Night World, Making it Big 

I should have some more reviews and some other fun stuff coming your way soon!


What have you read this year? Do you get the chance to read as much as you'd like?

26 May 2012

In Hiding

Hi all

I haven't posted in a while... OK, I haven't posted in ages. I suck, I know! Work has been really busy, and therefore I have not been able to read much. Ergo, haven't blogged any reviews lately. Excuses, excuses.

My pile of "books to read", however, has grown. I really need to stop buying books for a while and actually read some!

So I thought I'd write some quick thoughts out. I'm thinking about broadening out my theme. I've found "Beauty Heaven" and love all the girls blogs, thoughts and reviews of fun and pretty things! I might start to put some beauty posts up here too... and hopefully this will entice me to post a little more frequently, as even when I'm too busy to read, I still wash my face and wear make up to work every day!

But for now, here's one about eReaders. I've downloaded the Kobo app onto my HTC phone. To be honest, although it feels really disloyal to my 'real' books, I actually really like it. I didn't expect to. I love the feeling of a real book. The weight, the smell, the satisfaction you get as you get further through, knowing you only have 100/40/3 pages left (and the disappointment - or relief - you get from knowing this!). 

Pros of eReaders/tablet/phone apps
- It's easy to carry around no matter how big the book is
- Has the added bonus of being able to read it in the dark. Once I'm in bed I really dislike having to get out again, and when I'm away from home I don't always have a bedside lamp. Perfect example - Mum and Dad's house. 
- Cheap books, and books/authors I wouldn't necessarily have found or looked at in a book shop.

- Eye strain after reading for an extended period of time
- Doesn't feel like a book as such
- Can't put the books I've read on my bookshelf to brag about!
- Can't loan books I love to family/friends (Though this might be a pro? I hate hate hate not getting my books back, or getting them back in terrible condition)


Do you have an eReader? Do you love it? 

16 March 2012

Making It Big

This book is by Lyndsay Russell. 

I really didn't like this book. The writing is very average (Read: could have used a good editor), the plot could have been somewhat interesting but I found it was so buried in fantasy that it just ended up ridiculous. I also thought that it was a very long book - it felt more like it should have been a short story. 

It revolves around a fat girl who feels so hopeless in her quest to lose weight that she goes to a doctor advertising a 'miracle cure', and ends up in an alternate universe where fat is the new thin - and the bigger the better. From there it just gets more unrealistic. She very quickly - within 24 hours - gets a job as a supermodel, becomes famous, and sleeps with many hot and famous men. 

I just found it totally stupid and badly written. Unfortunately for me, I find it very hard not to finish a book. 

I think the invention of the ebook has a lot to answer for. Although it is wonderful that it has given more writers the opportunity to get their work out there, the lack of filtering means that there are a lot more books out there that haven't had the volume of reading, writing, re-reading, re-writing and editing that maybe they would benefit from. 

My opinion only, of course, but as a reader of these books I really feel that this one was a waste of my time. 

What are your thoughts on this book?

10 March 2012

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy

This is the second book in the "Austen Addicts" trilogy by Victoria Connelly. The first is "A Weekend with Mr. Darcy" and the third is "Mr. Darcy Forever" and I believe is to be published in April this year.

They're light hearted, they're fun, they remind me that I want to read Jane Austen and still haven't. They are chick lit and they reinforce my faith in love.

I like this series because they're sweet, they're romantic without being overly soppy. And that's really all I think I need to say! They're a lovely way to escape reality for a few hours.

24 February 2012

The Secret History

Another big book. 600-something pages. I did read it quite quickly though. It was easy to read, cleanly written. So why is it that I finished it days ago and I'm only now sitting down to write about it? 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt. First published in 1992. Wow, I didn't know that until just now. I actually thought it was older than that. 

It was pegged as "the original American campus novel". Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this isn't true, but I'm not sure I would have called it that as a selling point. It was set - partially - at a university, and the characters did, indeed, attend classes. But at times it did read more as a crime novel that was based in a college.

That said, I did enjoy the book. The main character is Richard, who changes colleges after commencing his studies in medicine and finding a, shall we say, lack of affinity for the profession. He stumbles across a group of students isolated from the larger student body, by their study of Greek, and their eccentric tutor. He makes friends with these students somewhat out of necessity, as the Greek tutor requires them to study all of their subjects with him and him alone. As Richard has come along after the original 5 had already established themselves, for the rest of the book he always seems just on the peripheries of the group. He narrates the book, sometimes more as an observer than an active part.

The book is an interesting study in behaviour, and how a major event can cause the group to come to rely and depend on each other, and the stress that can cause on those relationships. Fascinating stuff

As much as I didn't necessarily understand the choices these kids made, there was something about them I could relate to, sympathise with. 

I must admit, I like reading classics, novels that have stood the test of time. It feels like I'm in for something good before I've even started, just because it has managed to survive for so long. (Not that I've enjoyed EVERY classic novel I've ever read, but that's a topic for another post...)

Has anyone read this one? What's your opinion?

11 February 2012

A Song in the Daylight

I have just finished this epic, almost 800 page book by Paullina Simons. After reading a few bad reviews for this book, I have realised that I liked the fact that I didn't love the protagonist. Too many books have the 'perfect' central character, while all those around her are flawed. 

Larissa Stark had the perfect life. 3 children, loving husband, money. Through what you might call a twist of fate - or a plot - she meets a young man. And then proceeds to make conscious choices that will change the course of her life and the lives of her family. 

As she begins spending time with her young lover, her life falls by the wayside. She loses touch with her lifelong best friend, and her current friendships lose their shine. After a couple of close calls and over a year of hiding what she has become from her family, she leaves. 

I found the next part of the book difficult to read, possibly due to the fact that the author had this section set in outback Australia. And has clearly never been to outback Australia. So although I like Paullina's writing and find it easy to read, I did struggle with this content. Now, I've not been to Central Australia myself either, but little things such as referring to Western Australia as 'the Western Territories' did irritate me slightly. 

I liked the ending. I am glad that things weren't 'resolved' and everyone get their happy ending. It wouldn't have fit with the rest of the book. Life isn't perfect, people aren't perfect, and tying it all up neatly would have felt fake. I did find, however, that this book had similarities to one of her previous books - "Tully". 

As with her previous books, Simons delivers. Her writing is clean, her language is simple, and the story easy to read. She pushes your buttons, ensuring that - love the book or hate it - you have to finish it, and you'll definitely have an opinion! 

Have you read this? Have you read any other books by Paullina Simons? Favourites?