Monthly Melbourne Musings: January, 2018
I love living in Australia’s second biggest city, particularly because there’s so much continually going on. New pockets to explore, events, yummy food to try (a friend recently asked me: “Is it true you end up spending a vast amount of your pay on eating out in Melbourne?” Short answer – yes. The food is just TOO GOOD).
Entering 2018, I wanted to sit down and have another look at how I blog. Ongoing readers will know that I have regular, somewhat insane arguments (as they’re mostly with myself) in posts, about how much personal information bloggers should reveal as they write.
So personally, I’m forever toeing the line. Blogging is not my main hustle, which is good and bad. Bad, because I spend a lot of time constantly questioning why I bother investing so much time in it (then I realise it’s for the joy I get out of it and the community, duh). On the flip side, I’m not as beholden to SEO and sponsored content as other bloggers. Although I quite fancy the challenge of taking what might be viewed as a “boring topic” by some to at least try to make it readable (I’m in awe of all the bloggers who achieve this), I can generally write about whatever I want – without letting little things like “having an established niche” stop me.
I deleted all of last year’s Monthly Musings not long ago and I’m a bit bummed out now, because I rather miss them. I wanted to bring them back in some form and then had a eureka moment late last year – much like Issac Newton’s apple, the answer hit me at once.
The monthly musings would come back, in the form of “Melbourne Musings” (love a bit of alliteration, in case you can’t tell). I end up doing a lot of things which don’t quite justify having their own blog post and I’m often crap and forget to put them up on Facebook. These posts would serve as a roundup of stuff I’d got up to in Melbourne and surrounds.
And so, with that longwinded explanation over, let’s crack on with what happened in January, almost halfway through February.
A month of change
I had three big life changes in January – I went freelance again (yay!) and scored a lovely new work contract, which I’m really excited to start in March. And, I downsized my living situation – moving from a two bedroom flat to a one bedroom unit.
This meant I had to move, which ate up the last few days of the month. After counting on my fingers, I have realised I’ve moved 21 times in my life now, which is an upsetting thought. I guess I can pack things up pretty efficiently now (unpacking is another story), but I still hate doing it. I remember the first time we moved as a family, the first time I moved out of home and my first move overseas as being exciting, but now it just makes me want to cry.
Funnily enough, the night before my move was the night of the Supermoon/Blue Moon/Blood Moon/Lunar Eclipse. The moon decided to get really beautiful, which distracted me as I tried to photograph it, clearly not having learned anything from last time.
I had mixed feelings about leaving that flat – it was the first place I’d lived in in Melbourne, after all. Yet, there were a lot of things I really didn’t like about it (such as its distance to public transport – it was a twenty-five minute walk to the nearest train station). I also wasn’t really enjoying paying for a two bedroom place, when I was living there alone. Although I’m grateful for the fact that Melbourne is still semi-affordable in this regard, as I could never do the same in Sydney. The flat doesn’t contain the greatest of memories either – let’s just say that 2017 was a bit of a difficult year, for a few reasons. I had been wanting to move out for quite some time and I’m glad that day has come and gone.
On the upside, my new flat is somewhere I can see myself living in for awhile, so I’m determined to make it my own. I’m still unpacking, but I’m looking forward to adding a few personal touches to the place – getting some of my prints framed, adding photographs here and there, buying a few more plants and hopefully not killing them this time, investing in a new mattress and some fresh bedsheets.
I had also promised myself that when I finally lived alone in place I wanted to live in, I’d buy this toilet brush, because I’m a woman who knows how to treat herself.
The final big life change was losing my dog. We’d had the old bones a long while and although it was for the best, I’ll always miss him. It was nice to share some of my favourite memories of him and I appreciate all the kind comments.
Shakespeare’s PopUp Globe Theatre
January was the last full month of the PopUp Globe – a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, which I walked past every day and never paid any attention to.
When I was at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl for a concert in December, I noticed that one of the plays being proffered was Othello, which happens to be my favourite of all the Shakespearian tragedies. My boyfriend and I ended up going and liked it so much that we bought tickets to see Henry V, before the run ended.
Although both tickets were “Groundlings” tickets (where you stand directly in front of the stage for the show), this being Melbourne summertime, we had such a contrast in weather. It had been 39 degrees Celsius the first day, but we were quite happy – they’d put up big fans spraying mist and us stood in the nosebleed section were probably a lot happier than those in the seats, who had no fans at all.
However, the second time around brought torrential rain, for the entire duration of the play. We both thought to bring raincoats, but ended up near soaked towards the end. However, the rain and thunder added some extra depth and mis-en-scene to the show and we got a round of applause from the cast themselves at curtain call, simply for persevering.
Afternoon Tea at the Langham
I love afternoon tea and Melbourne is just as good a place to grab a cup of tea and some sweet treats in a fancy setting, as London.
I’m working on a post similar to that above and am thoroughly enjoying the research process. It was therefore quite fun to visit a limited-time event at Melbourne’s Langham Hotel – a Super Mario-themed High Tea.
It was admittedly not the best I’ve ever been to, but it was still quite pleasant. The age group present was probably the most amusing factor – there were lots of kids there as expected, then mostly couples in their mid to late twenties and early thirties. Clearly there were many girlfriends in who had stumbled upon it, thinking it would a wonderful day out for their gaming, nostalgia driven boyfriends and had booked them straight in.
I had two goals for January – to keep consistently posting and to give my blog a much needed revamp, before my life got eaten up by work.
Both goals were fortunately achieved, although it was a bit of a hard slog in the end. I try to get a post out every Monday, but life often gets in the way.
I’m pretty happy with how the blog looks now. My next two goals are to add some destination pages and start my monthly newsletter again. I’m also trying to optimise all my old posts, but gosh it is hard work.
At the very least, I was glad to kick off a new series, exploring suburbs around Melbourne. It’s giving me an excuse to go have in-depth pokes around areas I’m really fond of. Plus, I’m just excited to be writing content about the city I live in, at long last.
Best Reads of the Month
My goal for this year is to read 106 books (I read 105 last year, so I feel this is an achievable goal). I’d like to continue to read a lot of books by Australian authors and also, perhaps ease off on the library books somewhat and start actually reading the books on my shelf. They’re mounting up and I’ve been so distracted for the last year that I’ve barely finished any of them.
I finally sat down and finished reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Having been wary of picking up her books (let’s just say the values of a lot of the people who hero worship her stuff don’t quite align with my own), I actually really, really enjoyed it – a lot more than I thought I would. I’m quite keen to crack on with her other books, although I won’t be supporting her in her theory of objectivity any time soon.
My two other favourite books of the month were Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – a YA novel about a 17 year old school boy who’s forced to come out before he’s ready (whilst he forges an anonymous online relationship with another boy at his school). It was a quick and delightful read that I polished off in a night.
I also loved Bleaker House about a creative writing student who travels to the Falkland Islands on a fellowship to attempt to write a novel in complete isolation. She doesn’t finish her novel, but the story that comes out of the experience (this very book) is incredibly interesting, nonetheless.
What’s on for Next Month
Lots, considering it’s the shortest month of the year! A lot of work, a lot of unpacking and my 29th birthday – as well as watching the Winter Olympics. As far as Melbourne events go, I’d quite like to check out some local festivals, including the light festival White Night. And towards the end of the month, I head off to Thailand for eight days and for the first time, for a much needed holiday.
How was your January?
This post contains affiliate links to books I’ve read and therefore recommend.