It’s spring, baby! Well – sort of. It’s spring in Melbourne, which means we started the month with it being colder than it had been for all of winter. There was SNOW 40 mins east of the city. Then last week, it was 30 degrees, which dropped down to 18 by the end of the day.
September in Australia is synonymous with spring cleaning and I’ve been putting a few days aside here and there in an already very busy month to clean my flat – it’s amazing how quickly our living spaces can accumulate both dust and crap.
This month was so busy in both a good and bad way. Bad, because I worked a lot and as such, wasn’t able to pump out much content on this blog. Good because it was a very social month, that coincided with the end of the Melbourne Writer’s Festival and the entire span of the Fringe Festival. I attended a great talk on “Travel Baggage” at the writer’s festival and picked up two great memoirs by Australian writers as a result. For Fringe, I managed to get to three different events. A singalong to the Spice Girls first album “Spice”, an hour of completely improvised Harry Potter and Alice Tovey’s show “Mansplaining: The Musical”.
Melbourne: 30 days
As predicted, this was a quiet month in terms of travel and I didn’t leave the city once. Oh well. The “destination’s visited” section of next month’s post is going to look mighty interesting in comparison. Can’t wait!
I will say, this is an aspect of my life here that I really want to rectify next year. While I wouldn’t expect to visit nearly as many places as I did while living in the UK, I would like to “escape to the countryside” for even a day trip, once a month. I don’t like spending too much time in cities… it makes me feel off-kilter. Do you feel the same way?
On the Green Front
Now here’s where there was some success! I had a first attempt at making my own lip balm (shout out to Katie of Feathery Travels for the recipe!) with shea butter, honey and beeswax. It went not bad, although next time I might just omit the honey… sometimes I find myself slathering the shea butter on my lips and feeling that that’s enough.
I’m giving this toothpaste a whirl and trying out activated charcoal on my teeth, to see if it will whiten them a tiny bit. I’m only dabbing it on once a week ATM – don’t want to go overboard for fear of enamel damage.
New Zealand brand Thunderpants sent me a pair of their original pants to try out and I have to say, I’m in love. They’re a family owned company, making undies and other clothes out of certified fair trade organic cotton. So, basically everything I love in a clothing brand, at least. I feel like a superhero wearing them.
Other Random Ramblings
It’s funny how extraordinarily hard it is to lead a balanced life. When I was 23, I spent a month in a roster which saw me working from 2-10 every night. I’d get up, make my food for the day, go to the gym, go to work, go to bed. Rinse, lather, repeat. I also wasn’t eating sugar or drinking at the time. I was in the best shape of my life and could see my hip bones for the first time ever – but I missed my mates like mad. As soon as I got out of that schedule it was bye, bye flat stomach, but at least I felt like I had a life again.
I finally have a strong enough social circle in Melbourne to fill up my weeks, but in my excitement I’ve completely neglected my health. I feel like an exhausted, wizened old lady with creaking joints and I’ve had to kiss my burgeoning biceps goodbye again. Next month will be a blow out with a holiday abroad, but I’m hoping to find a bit more balance in my day to day life when I return. Easier said than done, it would seem.
Best Reads of the Month
If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.
-Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
It is very important to me to be friends with people who have excellent taste in books and luckily, many of my mates fall into this category. I therefore am not surprised by the fact that the two best books I read this month were both recommended to me by pals.
This has been a great year for non-fiction, with The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry being no exception. Jon Ronson is the author who also wrote The Men Who Stare at Goats and although he had been on my peripheral, I had never actually sat down and read one of his books.
The Psychopath Test is both hilariously written and terrifying to read. It’s scary how commonplace these types of people are – I could easily think of several who fall in this category who I’ve had the misfortune of encountering over the last few years. I also inevitably ended up wondering if I too were a psychopath, but apparently the process of questioning indicates that you probably aren’t. Phew. Rest easy.
Although Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is a novel that too is frightening in its own way – showing the disconnect between what we think we see in other people and what goes on behind closed doors.
Eleanor hasn’t had it easy, that’s for sure. After a turbulent childhood, she looks for moments of peace in her ordinary job, her ordinary flat in Glasgow, her very uneventful life. The highlights of her schedule are the frozen pizza and bottles of vodka she treats herself to at the end of every working week, in order to navigate through the lonely weekends. She finds it difficult to connect with other people and as such, has no real friends.
Yet something is about to happen in Eleanor’s life that will disrupt her carefully cultivated schedule… although unfortunately, as is the case in life, things are about to get a lot worse before they start to get better.
When I first started reading this book, I worried a bit that it would end up being another The Rosie Project or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – both of which I enjoyed in their own right, but I was a bit: “Ugh, hasn’t this sort of protagonist been a wee bit done to death, lately?” Fortunately, Eleanor is a completely endearing person in her own right, with her own special brand of cluelessness and literal thinking. She’s an easy character to love and you’ll be rooting for her (and wincing on more than one occasion) throughout the pages of this story.
I am at the moment, 17 books off reaching my yearly goal of 80 – if you have any recommendations for some quality literature, let me know in the comments!
Blog Post of the Month
This took an age to put together, which is my own damn fault for being all “I want to illustrate it!” Regardless, I’m happy with how it turned out. It’s basically almost two years of research, compiled into one blog post.
Whats on For Next Month
IT’S HOLIDAY TIME! I am just a little bit excited about this fact. I’ll be jetting up to Newcastle to spend two days with the fam and dogs, before heading back to my home away from home… London. And then onto the States!
But just before that there will be some homegrown fun times – checking out the Dior exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, hopefully watching the Storm lose the National Rugby League (NRL) Grand Final and patting all the animals at the Royal Melbourne Show!
How was your September?
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PS. This post contains affiliate links to books I’ve read or products used, which I therefore recommend.