Monthly Musings

Monthly Musings: July 2017 Summary

August 1, 2017
july 2017 birdgehls summary

A pelican at Pelican Beach, NSW. Am obviously delighted by this picture.

Not quite sure of what your thoughts are on the subject, but it was June and I think I blinked and it is now suddenly August. Mid-year rolls around and it seems like the race is on for the finish line, with whole months passing in what seems to be no time at all.

I hate to say it – but this is a phenomenon that I’m currently embracing at Birdgehls HQ. I don’t want to get too personal, but it’s been a bit of a tumultuous year so far, probably with more downs than ups. There is still a lot of good nestled in between the bad and I do try to live my life in an almost constant state of gratitude and that helps. It’s important to be happy in the moment you are in, as one of my favourite bloggers Rhiannon recently pointed out.

Moving home isn’t easy – in some ways, it’s harder than moving abroad. Yet, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to be home. I am and gladder still to be in Melbourne, as I think I fall a little more in love with the city everyday.

Here’s what went down during July.

july 2017 birdgehls summary

Darby St in Newcastle, a popular place for brunching.

Destinations Visited

Melbourne: 26 Days
Newcastle: 3 Days
Ballarat: 2 Days

I’m not going to lie, as much as I love Melbourne it was nice to finally get out of the city for a few days – particularly to go home. We had brilliant weather – sunny and warm. I didn’t really get up to much, just hanging with the family and dogs and a couple of sojourns into the city. I really wanted to go for a paddle on the lake, but my dog had chewed up the plug for my kayak. Sigh. Boofhead.

I thought that would be it for the monthly escapades, but then made a last minute decision to hot foot it to the town of Ballarat during the last weekend of their annual winter festival. I’m really quite smitten with the place so far (I’m typing this in the room of my BnB) – it’s small, but really pretty and there’s plenty of history packed into the place, as it was one of the main sites of Victoria’s gold rush era.

I also ate some of the best cheese of my life and found a shiraz wine that I actually liked the taste of. So, celebrations all round.

On the Green Front

July is the month to go plastic free, thanks to Plastic Free July, which I participated in this year. I didn’t do too badly – I did order takeaway whilst I was a bit tipsy on mulled wine, which annoyingly came in a plastic container (I use them to store food in, so no biggie), ate a bag of chips at the pub once and bought some cheese. But then it is cheese… do you understand my dilemma? Cheese is the reason I’m not vegan. And also eggs. And butter. Hrmm.

I had grand plans to pump out four posts about green living and travelling, but the last one is taking more time to put together than I had first anticipated. It will make an appearance soon, I hope!

july 2017 birdgehls summary

The mining exchange in Ballarat, Victoria. Love some 19th century signage.

Other Random Ramblings

I’ve been in a bit of a stink about this here blog for the majority of July. I think it was a mixture of general annoyance at staying put for six weeks straight (the joys of itchy feet syndrome) and the fact that last month was an extremely good month traffic-wise for Birdgehls. This was gratifying in the moment, but proved to be a hard act to follow.

I was probably at my lowest point with it all last week and went to bed feeling very sulky. When I woke up in the morning, I checked my stats and was startled to see that one of my older posts had been shared by a FB page with over 1 million likes. That one boost managed to help me break into what I had previously thought was an unachievable traffic goal, right when I had been hoping to.

It was a nice reminder that sometimes all you have to do is ask the universe to help a sister out and it may actually comply. I’ll be employing this same technique during the next 50 million dollar lottery in Australia.

Best Reads of the Month

I started a lot of books this month, but had trouble finishing quite a few of them. According to Goodreads I am 2 books ahead of schedule, but am also juggling five novels at once, which makes me feel stressed and upset.

Maybe in some relationships there was so much history that fondness and guilt and curiosity and familiarity remained separate elements and could never be melted down into friendship.

-Standard Deviation

Standard Deviation was recommended to me by a friend with excellent taste in books (that’s most of my friends, tbh). Graham is a middle-aged man, happily married to the exciting and slightly mad Audra, who is the antithesis of his first wife, the cool and contained Elspeth. When Elspeth re-enters Graham’s life, it brings forth a lot of questions for him – did he make the right choice leaving her for the much younger Audra? How did he manage to fall in love with two completely different women? And can exes ever truly be friends, or will there always be that lingering flame of desire between them?

Katherine Heiny’s debut novel is a cracker. I found Graham to be a bit two-dimensional, but there were plenty of other characters who leapt off the page – particularly Audra. This is a must-read for anyone who has ever attempted to befriend an ex… or simply enjoys having laughter in their life.

In keeping on with my quest to read more of the classics, I also finally got around to reading Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë. I liked it well enough, although as the reviews suggested it is not the strongest of the Brontë books. I’ve just started The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which is purportedly a massive improvement on Anne’s first novel. I’m sad when realising that I’m almost done with the Brontë sister’s books, but I’ve stretched out reading them over more than a decade, so that’s something.

july 2017 birdgehls summary

Blog Post of the Month

5 Days of Summer: The Downsides to Living in the United Kingdom

I love putting together these sort of posts and after having posted extensively about my native country, I’ve started writing about my other love, the mother country.

The UK is obviously a grand place to live, but every country has its drawbacks. This was merely a collection of things that baffled me during my time there.

What’s on For Next Month

Quite a lot, it would seem! Having been inspired by Ballarat (and quite keen to get more local content published on this blog), I’m heading east of the city to the Dandenongs with a friend this Friday, to get amongst nature and hopefully spot a Lyrebird in the wild. I’d love to do another day trip later on the month – maybe head down the Mornington Peninsular for some winter beach time! My favourite singer Josh Pyke is also playing a gig in Richmond this week and a friend and I are dining at Heston Blumenthal’s Melbourne Restaurant when she comes to town.

It’s also a good time for festivals – the Melbourne Film Festival kicks off on Thursday and the Melbourne Writer’s Festival is starting at the end of the month (and the Fringe Festival later on in September). Culture for everyone, hooray!

How was your July?

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PS. This post contains affiliate links to books I’ve read and therefore recommend.

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  • Reply Rosie August 1, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    2017 seems to be disappearing – I can’t get my head around where the time’s gone! (It feels like just last week that I returned to the UK, when the reality is that it’s been a month and I’m about to fly the nest again imminently to start a new job.) Hope the last five months of the year balance out the ups and downs for you! I keep telling myself I ought to read more classics, yet here we are in August and I haven’t read a single one this year… (Better luck next month, or so I keep telling myself.) I’ve been howling with laughter at how spot on your observations are of life in the UK – keep those posts coming LC 🙂

    • Reply LC August 2, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Thanks Rosie! Yeah it’s weird – I feel most years tend to drag on but this year is flying past at record speed! I hope your new job goes smashingly well. My brother gifted me with a mug that had thirty classics on it for Christmas and am determined to get through them by year’s end. Some are grand – some are difficult to get through. Haha I’ll try and pen a few more then, they are fun to write. Take care and have a good month.

  • Reply Rhiannon August 3, 2017 at 12:26 am

    “Cheese is the reason I’m not vegan” — high five to that! I could 100% live without milk, butter, cream, whatever else has dairy in it, but cheese? Cheese is everything.
    I mis-read Green Front as Green Font (twice) and was awfully confused because your font is more of a brown and grey, not green. I think this is said by everybody every year but I swear this year is about half as long as last year. Where has it gone?!
    Heston Blumenthal’s Restaurant sounds jazzy, that’s exciting!

    • Reply LC August 3, 2017 at 7:51 am

      Absolutely! It is essence of life. Haha maybe I should change the name of that heading? I know, but thing is I rarely feel that way about the year – or at least the first half seems normal and then the second half speeds through. I’m now waiting for October to roll around so I can go on holiday, which makes me think this year will have the opposite effect and be draggy now.
      I’m hoping it’s a culinary delight!

  • Reply Kati August 5, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Wow, a million likes on fb, impressive!! 🙂 And very cool. Congrats to you, nothing wrong with “a bit” of fb love when you need it. 🙂 (I’ve been in a dump these last few weeks and then Yukon Travel shared my Klondike Dawson City post. Needless to say that I was just a tad stoked. 😉 Sorry, had to share. 🙂

    Ballarat… oh gosh, I haven’t been there in years but have fond memories of the Botanical Gardens and the lake. Picturesque place.

    Milk, urgs, but cheese, butter, cream… yum yum yum. Soy cheese is just yuck. Totally with you there.

    And gee, enjoy that Heston experience! One of my friends would be extremely envious, she’s been wanting to go forever. Did you have to wait long to get in??

    • Reply LC August 5, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Haha share away! That’s awesome – I love hearing about bloggings wins. Makes you feel like it’s worth it!

      It was so beautiful. I couldn’t get over how lovely some of the houses were. I mean Melbourne’s are pretty good… but holy moly…

      Cheese is the best! With you on milk, not a fan. It’s is juice for baby cows. I hope it is good! Had a friend go earlier in the year and he enjoyed it, so hoping for much the same. Nope, booked and got in straight away, but we’re going on a Monday night, so pretty random I guess.

      • Reply Kati August 6, 2017 at 12:27 am

        Well, enjoy your Monday night out on the town with Heston! 😉 I really hope it’s absolutely gobsmackingly delicious!!!!

        • Reply LC August 6, 2017 at 2:20 pm

          Thanks lady! Am looking forward to it (although less to the expense involved!)

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