28 April 2014

A Character's Identity Takes Shape

Today, I have been welcomed as a guest at the Connect with Chick Lit club.

Go and check out my guest post here: http://connect.chicklitclub.com/wp/2014/04/28/a-characters-identity-takes-shape/

Have a great day ☺

26 April 2014

The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

Image source

Anyone who has read Returning would cotton on that this is the kind of book I would like. I'm glad I read it after I wrote Returning!

The concept for the book was so complicated - slipping through from one time to another, one age to another, timelines for different people's lives crossing over multiple times - but it was written so well that it absorbed me.

The Old Ducks had mixed reactions to this, which I completely understand. It's not everyone's cup of tea. But it did bring up some good points for discussion around whether our lives have a set destiny and how / if that interplays with free will. Did the characters in the book have any free will at all? Were they merely playing what they thought was their part in what should happen?

Book: Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I have given this 4 stars on Goodreads.
One-Liner: Right up my alley, I enjoyed it very much.

Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

Image source

I quite liked the first third of this book - being set in Italy, I immersed myself in my visualisation of the surroundings and descriptions of the language. That part hooked me in. After that section of the book, however, I struggled through it and had to force myself to finish it. The cynic in me just didn't believe that it really was a spiritual journey as described.

Book: Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I gave this 2 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: Rather than being therapeutic, reading it felt more like penance.

21 April 2014

School Holidays!

Tomorrow begins my holiday part of the school holidays!

Here I am very happy to be packing away the last lunch box at the end of term

So last week, hubby and the MissyMoos went away while I worked.

This week, I have all sorts of fun things lined up for the MissyMoos - like grocery shopping and flu vaccinations (they're going to love me).

MissyMoo1 (7) has asked for a thousand playdates in the next three days while MissyMoo2 (4) has asked for one. I have at this point arranged 0. Thankfully, although MissyMoo3 (2) can rattle off the names of all her little day care friends, at her age they have no way of guilting parents into arranging playdates yet - plus day care is still on this week, so maybe my playdate count should be 1 after all (that counts, doesn't it?)...

I'm looking forward to some girl time with the MissyMoos - maybe painting toenails, dancing to "Mamma Mia music" and baking bikkies. No, maybe not baking - that sounds like a lot of effort.

Here's one we prepared earlier

I also want to do some writing (bloggy and otherwise), some reading, some book launch planning and some sitting.

Knowing me, these big ideas will be shoved aside for couch cuddles, stories and playing lego/barbies/cafés. And that sounds great to me!

19 April 2014

Author Interview Guest Post - Reviewed the Book

Today I'm feeling like an author, as my first "author interview" is up at Reviewed the Book.

Thanks very much to Sophie for giving me the opportunity to talk about my book and writing generally. Time for you to go and check it out!


17 April 2014

Easter Egg Hunting Equipment (i.e. Baskets)

After my last craft blog post, I became motivated to engage in a little self-improvement.

For the last playgroup before Easter, there is traditionally a collective squeal of delight when the children discover that the Easter Bunny has come early to playgroup and dropped a few surprises. Just so we're clear, I'm talking about chocolate, not other bunny droppings surprises ;-)

Being an all-knowing grown-up, before we let the bunny out of the bag, I knew we needed some preparation. No little kiddy can go Easter Egg hunting without the proper equipment.

And so I got my craft on.

Are you scared??

First I got some big sheets of cardboard and drew templates on in pencil. The squares are 8cm x 8cm. I was able to fit four on a sheet as well as drawing the handles. We had yellow, pink, green and blue cardboard for the littlies to choose from.

After the adults cut the templates out, the kids got to work decorating. They used stamps, pencils, feathers, cellophane, anything at hand.

Here's MissyMoo2's (4) finished product.

Collecting the eggs was a lot of fun, but it was even better because they had somewhere cool to put them (besides their mouths - but there was a lot of that going on too!).

15 April 2014

Guest Post - Theme from Returning

Today Rita from The Crafty Expat has been lovely enough to host a guest post from yours truly.

The Crafty Expat

Here I isolate one of the key themes of my novel, Returning. What are you waiting for? Go and check out The Crafty Expat!


Cafés, Dolls and Posh Tea Parties

The worst (and best) thing to do while Hubby and the MissyMoos are away is to look at photos!

The consequence of this for you, dear readers, is that I have rediscovered a bunch of photos I intended to use in blog posts but never got around to.

Well, today's your lucky day. And mine too, as it's #ibot! (Hi Jess!)

Did I tell you about the time I went to do colour selections for our forever house? (Yes I did - included a link to prove it) Well, while I was there, the incredible Gina gave MissyMoo2 (4) and MissyMoo3 (2) such a great time that they did not want to come home.

Having said that, they were quite happy to see me when I got back. You see, they'd made a café, complete with a sign on Gina's front door to welcome me (luckily nobody else showed up demanding cupcakes).

I was told to close my eyes as I entered the house, and as little hands held mine, I was led to this:

We drank from posh cups and ate from posh plates. It was a proper posh tea party.

At the end of the afternoon, MissyMoo2 asked to babysit Gina's doll. She is quite a well-behaved doll so she really is no trouble to have from time to time for a sleepover:

She also gets along well with our resident dolls, no jealousy here.


Today I'm linking up with Jess for IBOT

14 April 2014

Freedom vs Loneliness

As would be the case in many families with school-aged children when both parents work and neither are teachers, juggling school holidays can be just as interesting as juggling school hours.

For various reasons, Hubby and I have decided to take one week of leave from work each these school holidays. Unfortunately, we don't overlap this time, but it does mean that we each get to spend a block of time with the MissyMoos.

This week is Hubby's week off work and he has taken the MissyMoos away for three nights to visit his parents a few hours' drive away.

Three nights!

Let me just pause here for a second to explain that I have never spent three consecutive nights away from the MissyMoos - ever!


I'm sure the MissyMoos will be fine. They'll have their daddy and grandparents to amuse them, there's lots of fun to be had at Gran & Soot's place and they might even get to play with their cousins.

I'll be at work for the next three days so much of my time will be taken up there. Indeed, that is the reason I didn't go along with them.

But today? Oh, today...

Freeeeeeeee, as a bird

Today I consume freedom I have not tasted in years - savouring the sweet flavours of silence, the ability to do whatever I feel like doing untinterrupted...

Today I miss the enveloping context of my life - my MissyMoos' voices, my husband's company. The sweetness of silence turns sour...

I'm actually feeling okay, aside from being overly emotional this morning when I received a kind message from a friend about Returning. I'm a little lost, but I have so much I want to get done today, blogging included, that I'm sure the hours will fly by and I will rue my lost freedom in no time!

Some things which will be happening over the next few days:
  • I have no idea what I am having for dinner tonight and this doesn't worry me.
  • Tonight I plan to watch a movie of my choice, uninterrupted.
  • I will only have myself to get ready in the mornings for work.
  • Tomorrow night I will be going out for dinner with my parents after work, as I have nobody at home to look after.
  • Writing, writing, writing - guiltless! I hope to get going on the sequel to Returning.
I daresay my emotions will be all over the place in the next few days. I'm sure that by Thursday, I'll be missing everyone like crazy and will be counting down the minutes until they get back.

Today I'm linking up with Alicia at One Mother Hen for Open Slather.

11 April 2014

Francesca's Festa of Favourites: April 2014

Welcome to the April 2014 edition of...
Francesca Writes Here

Some of you will know exactly what this is all about. Some of you party animals have been in on the Festa from the start. But for those of you who are fashionably late, you're very welcome here, and I'd like you to know what on earth I'm talking about.

"Festa" in Italian means a celebration, a party (and, if you look around this blog long enough, you'll see that I'm a fan of throwing Italian words around). This is a place where you can add links to your favourite posts for a given month (this time, it's April 2014), but here's the difference: they don't have to be posts you've written (although they can be). You can link to any post for the month that, for you, has been a must-read, that you're proud of, or that you think is entertaining, written by you or anybody else.

I add some of the posts, from blogs I read regularly, so you might see the same bloggers cropping up over the months. I make no apology for that - I love being able to use this space to bookmark my favourite blog posts for the month.

But, more importantly, I love seeing what everyone else likes reading - it helps me discover new blogs I might not otherwise have seen and it's a great way of sharing the bloggy love. So feel free to link up as many of your favourite posts as you like during the course of the month.

If you've linked a post or had one of your blog posts linked by someone else, why not add the button to your blog and help spread the word :-)

Pick of the March bunch (in my humble opinion)

Each month I like to choose a post from the previous month's linky party to showcase. I think it's a great way of showing off other bloggers in my own little corner of blogland.

The March Festa Favourite is:

The Ridiculous One That Was Live From The Gyno's Waiting Room, by Sonia at

It was ridiculous, it was light-hearted and it was bloody funny. Thanks Sonia, you're always so entertaining, but this one took the cake :-)
Now, let's get this festa started for Francesca's Festa of Favourites in April 2014. Happy linking!

Aleph - Paulo Coelho

Image source

I had never read a Paulo Coelho book before and I decided that 2014 was the year to address this deficiency in my reading list. I had wanted to read The Alchemist as, for some reason, I had heard of this book and recalled it being spoken of in quite a positive light. Alas, my local library did not have it in stock, so I went with Aleph.

From the outset, I felt like the book was falling short of my expectations. To be honest, it probably says more about my expectations than about the book. However, I got the feeling that I often get when I read books which have been translated into English - that there is a little something missing, a little something lost in that translation, that it is a stripped down form of the book, relieved of the richness of language it may have had in the author's original words. Or not. I'll never know. Unless I learn Portuguese.

I generally liked it. But I didn't get it. I understood the concepts. I enjoyed the spiritual ideas. But I just didn't believe in the pull the main characters had to one another. I had nothing invested in their interaction or relationship. My guess (and hope) is that translation is the reason for this. I may need to read another Paulo Coelho book to find out. Or maybe I should learn Portuguese (!)

Book:  Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I have given this 3 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: A good book with interesting ideas, but not quite as profound as I had hoped or expected.

09 April 2014

Why I Am Not a Craft Blogger: Photographic Evidence

So this is what I came up with for playgroup craft a couple of weeks ago.
Thank goodness we have heaps of toys and dress-ups to keep the kiddies happy.
Just wait until we do Easter baskets this week for our Easter egg hunt (help!)!

04 April 2014

How Much Money Did You Spend Today?

Today Hubby asked me: "How much money did you spend today?"

At first, my mind jumped around noting the morning's movements, remembering the stop at the petrol station, trying to recall how much I had put on the credit card. I had completely missed the point of the question.

Say what?

We signed our building contract today.

Pages and pages of standard terms, special conditions, plan drawings. Initialling every page. Giving the little MissyMoos lollies to keep them entertained (didn't we pay for that later!). It was a big morning.

On a day like today, I felt grateful for my legal training and experience. I have no experience in building contracts per se, but I have seen plenty of contracts in my time. I think if I hadn't, the experience would have been very daunting. But today was okay. I wasn't flustered. I was kind of in work mode (except when taking a MissyMoo to the toilet or out for a nappy change - I don't do that at work).

As long as we don't chicken out during the cooling off period, we're building our forever house.

This may not exactly be the house we're planning on building

So, how much money did I spend today? Well lets just say we signed up to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, of borrowed money.

Hmm, when I put it that way... Where's the Bailey's?


Mouse Trap

Does anyone remember the game, Mousetrap? My sister and I used to play it as kids. I remember it would take ages to set it up but then it would be so cool to set off and watch the chain of events that brought the trap down. Catching a mouse was fun!
Yeah, well it's all fun and games until the game comes true!
A few weeks back, in The Rented House, which is a lovely new place, a place to which we were not permitted to bring The Fat Cat, Hubby heard a noise ... a scurrying noise.
A few minutes later, with the aid of a broom, his wife, an empty ice cream container and a piece of cardboard: Hubby = 1, Rodent = 0. I say the mouse had a score of zero, but really, it was probably the winner, as I walked 50 metres down to the reserve near our house in my nighty to set it free.
It was disgusting and really cute all at once
I bought traps the next day.
There were more. One was caught in the trap under the kitchen sink.
I laid the traps out again. There were more.
The little bastards creatures were learning - they were licking the peanut butter off the traps and scurrying away.
This called for drastic measures. I turned to Google ... and essential oils.
Once we were fairly sure there were no longer mice living in the house, we placed cotton buds drenched in peppermint oil in the garage (that's where they had been coming in from). Apparently they can't stand the smell because it is so strong and it drives them away. You're welcome.
We haven't seen (or heard) any mice since. I hope it stays that way.

03 April 2014

Old Ducks Bookclub: Returning "Launch"

A couple of weeks ago, we had our monthly Old Ducks Bookclub gathering. They are generally very interesting catch-ups, during which we sometimes manage to talk about the book, or at least have the book on the table while we talk about other things.

Last month's meeting took place a couple of days after "Receiving Returning". So it was with great excitement that I showed up with a bag of books, feeling like Santa Claus ready to give them out.

It was with even greater excitement that Gina arrived with some very special home made cupcakes:

And so, the first book launch for Returning was held! Unofficial, spontaneous and with lots of laughter - I wouldn't have had it any other way.

There was a further delight in store - image their surprise when I told them to turn to the back page and they saw their names in lights! You'll have to imagine it, as I didn't take a photo - I should have had the camera ready then :-)


There will be an official book launch coming up - it is in the planning stages at the moment. I'll write more about it when I have given it some thought.

I am linking this post up with Rhianna for Thankful Thursday, because I'm so thankful for all the support, love and excitement my friends have shown me through the writing and publishing process.

Thankful Thursday with APL
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