Things I Love Lately…Six Months Later

If there’s anybody still out there… HELLO! After six months of complete silence, I’m back.

I feel REALLY slack for having let the blog go for this long. I was just so busy – working two jobs, keeping up with postgrad study, trying to maintain some semblance of a social life – and blogging was, unfortunately, relegated to the bottom of my priority list.

However! A few things have changed since I last posted. Last month, I made the decision to leave my bookshop so I could just stick with the one job. I absolutely loved working at the bookshop, but it was time to leave. I now work solely as a writer (or ‘Communications Coordinator’, if you want to get technical), taking on more projects and loving every minute of it.

So now that I’m starting to get settled into a better routine, I’m going to make an effort NOT to leave a gigantic six-month gap in between posts here! I thought I’d kick things back off with a nice little set of ‘Things I Love Lately’. :)

White Bird Art

WBA (2)Image via White Bird Art

I love birds and woodland animals and beautiful drawings and sticking pretty things on my walls. (Who doesn’t?) So when I came across White Bird Art, it was instant love.

They’re two amazingly talented girls from Sydney who create gorgeous artworks of birds, foxes, flowers and just all manner of loveliness. I picked out two of their prints for Nate to get me for my birthday, and they are such a sweet addition to the walls of our little apartment.

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As well as being ridiculously clever, the girls themselves are lovely too – my prints got lost in the mail thanks to AusPost being dodgy, and they were SO helpful and wonderful about it!

You can visit White Bird Art’s Etsy shop here and their website here. And by ‘can’ I mean ‘should, right now’.

WBA (1)Image via White Bird Art

Cormac McCarthy

McCarthy

I remember one of my undergrad writing teachers always going on about Cormac McCarthy, never missing an opportunity to spruik the harsh American beauty of his prose. When he showed us an excerpt, I read it, went ‘eh’, and didn’t think about McCarthy again until this year.

My bad.

Getting an awesome discount at the bookshop I worked at was beneficial to more than just my budget: it made it easier for me to expand my reading repertoire. We stocked a fair few of McCarthy’s books, some with beautiful, striking cover designs that always caught my eye when I was stocking shelves. I decided to give him a go and start with No Country for Old Men, which is obviously one of his better-known works.

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Eight pages in, my thoughts, as recorded on Twitter, were:

  1. Interesting.
  2. Has he actually removed the comma button from his keyboard?

Dude doesn’t use a lot of punctuation.

I found it weird at first, but slowly and surely, I got completely sucked in by this sparse, gritty novel. His prose, which seems at first to be nothing but long sentences with lots of ‘and’s, has this strange, hypnotic, addictive quality. It completely draws you into his world – whether that be the dusty, gun-slinging, drug-running world of No Country, or the bleak, never-ending, post-apocalyptic highway that is The Road.

Don’t you just love it when you find a new author to add to your favourites?

Lego Harry Potter

Image via megagamesImage via megagames

To anyone who knows me, it’s no secret that I am a shameless, hardcore, lifelong Harry Potter fan. Like, I’m talking Hedwig and Time-Turner ornaments on my desk, movie soundtracks playing while I do uni work… Yep.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetProof that my desk is something of a HP trinket shrine.

Anyway, I’ve realised that one of the key feelings I get from anything Potter-related is comfort. It was such a huge part of my childhood and brought me so much joy that every time I immerse myself even slightly in that world, I just feel calmed.

So when I was feeling a little stressed out by work and uni lately, the most brilliantly genius idea popped into my head: I should absolutely, totally get a Harry Potter game to play on Nate’s Xbox. (How I hadn’t thought of this before, I have no idea.)

Off I trotted to the shops, with seasoned Xbox veteran Nate in tow to help me out. I ended up scoring a secondhand copy of Lego HP Years 1–4 for $20! Potentially THE BEST $20 I HAVE EVER SPENT.

Image via lego.wikia.comImage via lego.wikia.com

I’m proud to say that my previously non-existent Xbox skills have increased tenfold! I can now run around, jumping and joyfully Expelliarmusing everyone in sight, all without looking at the controls. One hundred points to Hufflepuff. (I fully embrace the fact that I would absolutely be sorted into Hufflepuff.)

Anyway, the point of all this is, I have found a new method of stress management and it is exploding things and making potions as a little Harry made of blocks. I highly recommend that you give it a try. x

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Things I Love Lately (Feat. Cupcakes and The National)

Hello and happy Tuesday, if there’s anybody out there still reading!

I’ve been pretty slack on the blog front lately – partly because I’ve been busy, but mostly because I’ve been trying to think of something really worthwhile and interesting to post. After spending a while despairing of my lack of ‘worthy’ ideas, I realised that if I was this meticulous about every blog post, I’d only average one every ten years or so. So here goes my somewhat self-indulgent Things I Love Lately post – expect to see many more of these in the future!

The National

Img courtesy of fugitivesounds.orgImage courtesy of fugitivesounds.org.

I freaking love The National. Their music is dark, slow-burning melancholia, peppered with the occasional incredibly uplifting moment and… some more melancholia, but up-tempo this time. They’ll break your heart, but you will totally love them for it.

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to attend their show on the Opera House forecourt. It was a perfect, warm, clear summer evening on the harbour: the House lit up in colour, the crowd chilled out and ready for the show – and what a sublime show it was. Matt Berninger’s beautiful voice was the highlight for me; it’s just heavenly live. I’m so impressed by the way he can transition seamlessly between his signature haunting baritone, his higher range, and his crazy hoarse screams on songs like ‘Abel’. I’m even more impressed that he waded his way through the entire crowd during ‘Mr November’ without sustaining any damage besides a pair of lost glasses (he was right up the back with us at one stage and I squealed a little).

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Anyway, it was a gorgeous night and I’m so glad to have had the experience of seeing them live! You can see for yourself what I’m talking about via the Opera House YouTube channel – watch the full set from the second show here. (For the record, my favourite National song is ‘England’ – if you haven’t heard it, go listen to it right now. It’s soft and beautiful and it conjures images of lying in bed watching raindrops run down the window and I love it so much.)

Hello Naomi

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Imagine sitting down in a tiny pastel-coloured café, ordering a chocolate cupcake with vanilla-mint buttercream, and sipping on a little bottle of flavoured jersey milk from a stripy straw. Doesn’t your brain just explode from the cuteness? Mine almost did when I discovered Hello Naomi, a sweet little café in Newcastle serving cupcakes and cookies, coffees and teas, jersey milk and fresh juice and hot chocolate… the list of treats goes on and on. It’s such a lovely place to go for a catch-up with a friend, a coffee date with the boyfriend, or even just to treat yo’self – because you’re a strong and independent woman who deserves it, am I right?

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Follow Naomi on Instagram (@hellonaomicakes) to admire her creations and go into a virtual sugar coma – or, better yet, get yourself to Newcastle for the real thing!

Cheap jewellery

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I got these rings and this necklace for $7 all up. Best. (Rings not modelled on hand due to me having a fat finger day.)

Mail

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Everyone loves getting nice things in the mail. For me it’s especially exciting, as the only things that usually turn up in my mailbox are bills to be paid or letters for the previous tenant (seriously, Peter, change your address already). So this year is going to be awesome, because I’ll be getting regular deliveries thanks to my new Frankie subscription and my new by-distance postgrad course with the University of Southern Queensland! Mr Postman, you’re my new best friend.

Fresh limes

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I’m so obsessed with limes at the moment. I only recently discovered what is now my favourite cocktail of all time: the Charlie Chaplin – equal parts sloe gin, apricot brandy, and fresh lime juice. I also love adding lime to my food – most times when Nate and I make Mexican food I forget to buy limes, but when I do, I will juice a whole one of those delicious bastards on top of my meal. If there’s a lime in the house I’ll even squeeze it over any type of lunch wrap I make – EVERYTHING tastes better with limes!! (Crazy lime lady in the making. Off to make use of the supermarket’s 3 for $1 deal right now.)

IMG_7212Image courtesy of cocktailmusings.com.

So, there you have a few of my favourite things at the moment. I’d love to hear some things that you love lately!