Well, hello there! I’m back from a bit of an impromptu blogging hiatus. I haven’t been anywhere or done anything exciting. To be perfectly honest, I simply got a little bit bored with blogging and decided to take a short break. Do you ever feel that way, fellow bloggers and bloggesses? I felt I was in a bit of a rut and wasn’t sure if anyone was even reading what I was writing, as comments have been rather thin on the ground lately. Which is not to say it’s you – it’s not; it’s most definitely me! I just needed to rediscover my blogging mojo. So without any further navel gazing, let’s crack on, shall we?!
1. These paws were made for walking. This Sunday, thousands of two-legged and four-legged families will hit the streets for the RSPCA’s annual Million Paws Walk fundraiser. The husband and I do the Sydney event every year with our furkids, Tex and Delilah, and it’s so much fun. (Even if it is always on the same day as the Sydney Half Marathon, which presents me with an annual quandary lasting a good fifteen minutes.) The first year we took Delilah, she was just four months old and a bit overwhelmed by the presence of so many other butt sniffing, tail wagging would-be friends. So she did what any of us would have done: she dived into the bushes and hid there. A girl after my own heart.
2. Old age. This past weekend I had tickets to see Jack Black’s band, Tenacious D. But I didn’t see them. And do you know why? I forgot. It just straight-up slipped my mind. When I should have been at the Sydney Opera House, rocking out to ‘Tribute’, I was in fact on my sofa watching Grand Designs Revisited. Initially I was horrified to realise I’d totally blanked on something I was so looking forward to. But then I reasoned that I actually had a pretty good time chilling on my sofa – arguably a better time than I would have had trekking into town at 9pm, paying $15 per drink and $30 for parking and then schlepping home again in the wee small hours. Obviously this means I am very, very old. But that’s okay. I’m cool with it. Now someone fetch me a knee rug.
3. Second chance dogs. This week I’m writing a feature article about rescue dogs and why they’re SO FREAKING AWESOME. I’ve collected a bunch of the most heartwarming, inspiring and downright amazing stories about dogs who have been treated so cruelly yet still manage to trust and love human beings. Every time I think it’s not possible for me to be more moved and astounded by dogs’ capacity for unconditional love, I’m proved wrong. Sometimes my job is just the best.
4. The Big Wedding. Who’s your favourite rubbish movie star? We all have one: an actor or actress whose movies tend to be average at best, but who we just can’t help loving regardless. For me, that actress is Katherine Heigl. I don’t think she’s rubbish – in fact, I think she’s really talented – but pretty much every flick I’ve seen her in has sucked pretty hard. Cough *oneforthemoney* cough. And yet I keep paying my money to see everything she’s in. Case in point: The Big Wedding. The reviews for this film, which also stars my all-time favourite actress, Diane Keaton, have been lukewarm to say the least. Even the trailer makes it look pretty awful. But I know where I’ll be tomorrow afternoon, and it’s all Katie Heigl’s fault.
5. Dr Drill. It must suck being a dentist. I can’t think of too many other professions that inspire such fear in the general population, myself included. But after leaving seven or eight years between dental check-ups and having to have a series of painful and very expensive procedures last year, I vowed to learn to love the dentist. Or at least to tolerate an annual check-up. Said check-up was this morning and my pearly whites got two thumbs up from Dr Drill. So that means no more dentist angst until this time next year. Woot!
6. Food fiesta. I don’t know what it’s like round your way, but in my neck of the woods there seem to be food and wine ‘festivals’ happening somewhere or other virtually every weekend. I’ve been to a few and I’m invariably disappointed. I always imagine platters of gourmet cheeses and passionate vignerons who’ll spend hours talking me through their range. What these events actually tend to involve is five hundred pissheads and a sausage sizzle stand. Not the genteel garden party vibe I’d had in mind. But this weekend I’m heading to the Blue Mountains for the Norman Lindsay Gallery’s Wine & Jazz Festival at Faulconbridge – and I reckon this one will be different. If a frosty autumn day, a stately home and some cool jazz can’t offer the vibe I’m after, nothing can.
7. Bon voyage! It’s not just going to be a great week for me this week. It’s also my best friend Karlie’s birthday and she and her hubby are jetting off to New York for their belated honeymoon. I’d be sick with jealousy if she wasn’t the most awesome person ever. Safe travels lovelies!
1. Jack Dee. I don’t know about you, but I sure could use a laugh. Which is why it’s so handy that the Sydney Comedy Festival kicks off this week! There’s some really great, very big name comedians coming to town, including Arj Barker, Margaret Cho, Steve Hughes and Paul McDermott. And Effie! EFFIE, you guys! Not least among them is that loveable UK sourpuss, Jack Dee. Really looking forward to his show this weekend.
2. It’s not last week. As far as ‘news weeks’ go, last week was bloody awful. First the horrific bombing of the Boston Marathon, then the devastating factory explosion in Texas, a mine collapse in Ghana, a deadly earthquake in China and finally a bloody end to the hunt for the marathon bombers. Seriously, it was enough to make a gal want to hide under the doona until Christmas. This week simply must be better than last week. Good things are coming, people. This I know.
3. ANZAC Day. This Thursday is ANZAC Day. It is always a day on which I feel particularly proud to be Australian. Here’s some of the reasons why (this post is about Remembrance Day, but the same sentiment holds true). It is also a day on which I hope especially fervently that the true spirit of the ANZACs will prevail in Australian culture. Our ancestors didn’t go to war to defend an intolerant, exclusive country. They went to war to defend a nation founded on the principles of acceptance, courage and friendship. Lest we forget.
4. The Daily Show’s John Oliver on gun control. This is the best thing I’ve seen so far this week. (Well, this and a series of Tweets in which a number of confused Americans thought Chechnya and the Czech Republic were the same place.) I predict I will watch it at least a dozen more times. Woop-de-doo.
5. Marathon mission redux. The annual ballot for places in the New York City Marathon opens this week, and you’d better believe I’ll be in it. This year there will be even fewer spots available to runners who enter the ballot, because organisers have had to accommodate all the participants who weren’t able to run last year after Hurricane Sandy forced the event to be cancelled. So I’m not actually holding out much hope of securing a bib. But that’s fine by me, because if I miss out this year I’ll be entitled to automatic entry into the 2014 event. Like many big marathons, NYC has a system whereby entrants who have been knocked back three consecutive times are guaranteed entry on their fourth attempt. So as soon as I see that ‘Sorry, your entry was unsuccessful’ message this year, I’ll be booking my flights for next year, baby!
6. Dog hair. At the moment, all my furniture and pretty much every piece of clothing I own is covered in dog hair. Admittedly, this is partially to do with my abject loathing of all forms of housework. (Seriously, what is the POINT of cleaning stuff?!) But more significantly, the sudden increase in the volume of dog hair covering my belongings is due to the fact that my dog, Tex, is no longer bald. One of the saddest symptoms of Tex’s recently diagnosed hypothyroidism was that virtually all of his fur fell out. He was walking around looking like a guy having a mid-life crisis. But now that his meds have kicked in, he’s not only much happier and sparkier, his coat has also regain its previous lustre. Now he looks like a guy from a 1970s shampoo commercial! So if having a fluffy ginger covering over all my garments is the price I have to pay for a healthy pooch, I say orange is the new black!
7. Bibliophile. If the Art Gallery of NSW ever runs another ‘Favourite British Novels’ lecture series, I’m going to sign up for all of them – you should, too! I only managed to nab seats to four of the current series and they’ve been so wonderful. The final one is this weekend – it will cover Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca and W. Somerset Maugham’s Cakes and Ale – and I’m really looking forward to it. Being quietly obsessed with biographies, I don’t read many novels these days and I likely never would have got round to reading these classics without the lectures as an incentive. It’s so inspiring learning about the lives of these great writers.
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Morning all! Ready to dive into another week? Let’s get to it!
1. New routine. The husband has gone back to work today after nearly nine months off. It was bizarre waving him off to the first day at his new job this morning, then closing the door to find myself in an empty house (well, empty other than the two dogs freaking out about the new robotic vacuum cleaner). Although I genuinely enjoy my own company, I got used to having him around the place every day. And weirdly, his presence made me procrastinate less: I would work hard to get all my work finished quickly so that we could hang out and do stuff. Now I find myself looking for a new routine. I’m sure I’ll figure it out before too long… I’d better, I’ve got deadlines aplenty this week!
2. Aches and pains. I don’t know if it’s a sign of getting older or perhaps has something to do with spending up to 10 hours a day hunched over my laptop, but I have my fair share of old lady aches and pains. Several friends have raved to me about the effects of osteopathy, so I’m finally going to check it out for myself this week. Hey, anything that could potentially alleviate the hunchback I’ve got developing over my left shoulder has got to be worth a shot, right?! Have you tried osteopathy? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
3. Proper autumn. Do you realise we’re already halfway through autumn? I don’t know how it’s been in your neck of the woods, but round my way nothing much has changed since summer. Which is to say it’s still warm and humid. Every. Damn. Day. Don’t get me wrong, I like a sunny day as much as the next girl, but cold weather is my happy climate. And according to the forecast (which is always right, as we know), this week should finally bring some of that to Sydney. Showers and temps of around 20 are predicted for Sydney this week. Woot!
4. This puppy. Because if your week isn’t improved by looking at a Golden Retriever puppy in onesie pyjamas, there is something very, very wrong with you.
5. Knees-up. I was going to start this sentence with ‘I can’t remember the last time I spent a lazy Saturday afternoon at the pub’, but then realised that would be a blatant lie because I do it ALL THE TIME. So instead I will say that I am very much looking forward to setting up camp at a favourite local with some good friends this weekend. I do love a good, old fashioned knees-up!
6. Return. I may be slightly biased given I credit Michael Shannon with changing my life, but I just can’t figure out why he’s not a huge, enormous, giant movie star. Everything I’ve seen him in has been amazing, from Boardwalk Empire to Revolutionary Road to Take Shelter. I’m even going to go see the new Superman movie just because he’s in it. Me. At a superhero blockbuster. That, my friends, is true devotion. But I digress. This week I’ll be watching his latest film, Return, in which he plays the partner of a returned American servicewoman (played by ER’s Linda Cardellini). Why do so many of MS’s flicks go straight to DVD? It makes no SENSE!
7. And this puppy, too. Look, I never said this blog wouldn’t become an unabashed portal of puppy worship, okay?! (But seriously, look how sweet!)
1. There’s only three days of it. Hope you all had a lovely Easter break! Four days off is just brilliant, isn’t it? I enjoyed it so much that I’m doing it all over again this weekend! Come Friday, the husband and I are flitting off to north-eastern Victoria for a few days to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Which means that, technically, this week is only three days long. Hurrah! WHY CAN’T IT BE THIS WAY EVERY WEEK?!
2. Rediscovery. ‘Why north-eastern Victoria?’ I hear you ask. Well, I’ll tell you why. When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to go to Falls Creek every winter with my ski-obsessed Dad. I loved the area so much – especially the little towns around Falls Creek, like Mt Beauty and Bright – that I was quite convinced I would live there someday. Except then, of course, I grew up and started work and did all those other boring adult things. I almost forgot about the little pocket of countryside I’d once loved so much. So you can imagine how excited I am to not only rediscover this region, but to introduce the husband (whose only real experience of Victoria is a few drunken long weekends in Melbourne) to it. Even if we do have to go on a teeny-tiny wind-up plane to get there. *Shudder* Plus, it’s apparently quite the foodie paradise these days. Bring on the wine and cheese!
3. Writing. Something amazing happened over the Easter break. I started writing. What I mean is, I started writing something that is not a magazine feature. It’s a short film script, in fact. Considering it’s been well over a year since I’ve written so much as a sentence that hasn’t been work-related, this is a little bit important to me. I got properly lost in the writing for a couple of hours, and I can’t tell you how good that felt. More of it, please!
4. The good telly. It was a BIG DAY in our house yesterday. The husband’s favourite TV show, Game of Tits Thrones, returned for its third season. And he got his paws on the box set of his second-favourite show, Romanzo Criminale (it’s like Life on Mars meets The Sopranos. In Italian.) Meanwhile, I discovered that season six of MY favourite show, Mad Men, premieres next week with a MOVIE-LENGTH EPISODE! And I also learned that my other favourite show, True Blood, will be back on the tellybox in mid-June. That is some quality television, people. I knew it was worth hanging onto our Foxtel subscription, despite all those endless property shows and Big Bang Theory repeats. Hello, square eyes!
5. PJ goodness. I absolutely, positively cannot WAIT for winter. Sydney’s heat and humidity wore out its welcome with me, oh, about three months ago. The mercury is slowly dropping now, but proper cold can’t come quickly enough for my liking. I really, REALLY hope it’s chilly when we’re away this weekend. In the meantime, I have bought myself these awesome wolf-print PJs from Jethro & Jackson, in the hope they will manifest some frosty nights. It’s like my version of a rain dance.
6. Presents. Giving gifts is my second-favourite thing in the whole world (my first favourite thing being lunch). This weekend I will naturally be giving the husband an anniversary gift, and if I say so myself, it’s a good’un!
7. This book. I know myself pretty well. When I started flirting with the idea of ‘going vego’, I knew there was a very good chance my diet would quickly come to consist of nothing but pasta, cheese and two-minute noodles. As you might imagine, I was fairly keen to avoid this scenario because, well, yawn. So I went hunting for a vegetarian cookbook that would inspire me to get into the kitchen and get creative. And I reckon I’ve found it in Troth Wells’ The Global Vegetarian Kitchen. Seriously, this book is amazing; I spent most of the Easter weekend sticky-noting pages and whipping up delicious dishes. The Greek cheese pies were a big hit, as were the butternut squash curry and veggie burritos. Next up: chutney!
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I guess technically I should only list six reasons this week is going to be awesome, since I’m a day late with the post and all. But I’m feeling all positive and whatnot, so what the hell? Seven it is!
1. The luxury of time. Yesterday an amazing thing happened. I finished writing a feature article and submitted it, then opened the special spreadsheet where I keep track of all my upcoming deadlines. And do you know what I discovered? The next one isn’t until April 12. That means I have two – count ‘em, TWO! – whole deadline-free weeks at my disposal. What shall I do with all that beautiful time? I could start a new screenplay! Go on a little vacay! Paint a picture! I’m virtually giddy with the possibilities! I could make like the lady in the picture and ride my bicycle alongside a picturesque waterway. Except that I don’t have a bicycle. What I will probably do is watch lots of TV, sleep late and fill out film funding applications. But I’m allowed to do that. I HAVE TIME TO DO THAT!
2. Still vego. Meat Free Week is officially over, and a strange thing has happened. I still haven’t eaten meat. I imagined I’d punctuate the week’s effort by tucking into a juicy burger or something on Sunday night, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to, and I still don’t. I am currently still a vegetarian. I say ‘currently’ because I don’t know how long this will continue. I would like to be a vegetarian permanently – it feels enormously hypocritical that someone who loves animals as much as I do should serve them up for dinner every night – but I don’t know if that’s feasible because I am also very lazy and there’s a very real possibility my desire to have fresh produce in my house at all times will be outweighed by my desire to avoid the supermarket at all costs. But for now, I don’t miss meat. So I’m going to make like the alcoholics do and take it one day at a time.
3. Frankenstein. I’m off to see the Ensemble Theatre’s performance of Nick Dear’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic horror story, Frankenstein, this week. Wow, there are a lot of possessives in that sentence.
4. Birthday shenanigans. My Little Sister turns 10 this week. We’ve been hanging out since she was eight, so seeing her hit double figures is a real milestone. When I asked her what she’d like to do as a special birthday treat, her instructions were that I should surprise her. But how am I supposed to surprise a kid with the cynical world weariness of a 45 year old?! The pressure, you guys! Suggestions VERY WELCOME!
5. Couples needed! I don’t often use this blog for work purposes (which is kind of weird, since it’s allegedly my ‘professional’ website), but I’m making an exception today. I’m currently working on a feature for a major women’s glossy mag (trust me, you’ve heard of this one!) and am on the lookout for couples to star in it. There’s a fancy photo shoot and everything! Check out the details HERE and drop me a line if you think you fit the bill, or know a couple that does. Ta! x
6. Easter. I actually almost forgot that Easter is coming up this weekend. Public holidays don’t mean much to us self-employed folks who work from home (and religious celebrations mean even less to me personally). But then I remembered ALL THE CHOCOLATE! And now I’m pretty gosh darn excited about Easter. (I am also excited about this insanely adorable picture of a puppy in a basket with bunnies and a fluffy chicken!)
7. Identity Thief. I don’t know if this is one of my special peculiarities or if others share it, but sometimes I get more excited about seeing movies that look awful than I do about seeing movies that look wonderful. Identity Thief is one of those movies. Based on the trailer, it doesn’t seem like what some might call ‘a good film’. But it does look hilarious and cheesy and eminently watchable, so I’m going to check out a preview screening this week. I mean, come on. Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in the same flick – what’s not to like?!
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1. Going vego. This week is Meat Free Week. As the name suggests, it’s an initiative that encourages Aussies to give vegetarianism a try for seven days. I’ve signed up and I’m really looking forward to busting out my vego cookbooks and whipping up a whole load of meat-free culinary delights. I don’t know why I’m not vegetarian. I should be. As an animal lover and supporter of anti-factory farming campaigns, I realise that eating meat makes me a massive hypocrite. To be honest, I think it’s sheer laziness. It’s just easier to defrost a chicken breast at the end of a busy day than to have to actually plan and shop and have fresh veggies in the house. Which is a flimsy excuse at best. I would certainly like to be a full-time vegetarian. So hopefully Meat Free Week will give me a taste – pun intended – of how awesome a herbivorous life can be!
2. Catch ups. Another downside of being in the Work Black Hole in recent weeks has been a sad lack of seeing other human beings. But no more! Now that things are slowly approaching ‘sane’, I’ve lined up a load of lunches and dinners with my favourite ladies. Starting today!
3. GIRLS. Tonight is the finale of season two of GIRLS. This makes me sad, because I am now thoroughly obsessed with the show and will miss it, but also happy because it’s sure to be a cracker!
4. Not thinking, doing. This past weekend I did a documentary filmmaking course that was so much fun and SO inspiring. This week I’m motivated to stop thinking about my documentary idea, and actually start DOING. I’ve realised that I am an excellent planner, but the problem with that is that I often fall into the trap of thinking every minor detail must be planned before any action can happen. The people I met this weekend have completely changed my view on that. I just need to shut up and shoot!
5. Vet free week. (Not to be confused with Meat Free Week!) It’s lucky my dogs have such a great vet, because we’ve been spending a LOT of time with her these past few weeks. First there was the raft of (very expensive) tests needed to diagnose Tex’s hypothyroidism. Then there were Delilah’s annual vaccinations. Then last week Tex stole and ate a raisin-packed hot cross bun. Raisins are extremely toxic for dogs – they can cause renal failure – so it was back to the vet for more (very expensive) treatment. Tex had to stay there for two days on a drip, and he was NOT happy about it! Thankfully he’s absolutely fine and our pet insurance will cover the bulk of the bill. Phew! So this week I am very, very hopeful that we will not have to see our vet, lovely though she is!
6. Teacher’s pet. This week I’ll give my final fashion journalism lecture for term one at FBI Fashion College. I’ve done three terms at the college now, and I absolutely love it. I’ve had some great students, who really keep me on my toes with their thoughts and questions about the media in Australia. Who would have thought that little ol’ me – someone who loves talking and fashion and telling people what I think – would enjoy teaching?!
7. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. How awesome does this film look?! Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi as a Siegfried & Roy-style pair of magicians – complete with blow-dried manes and buckets of fake tan – and Jim Carrey as their faux-gothic Criss Angel-esque arch rival. I am SO going to see it this week!
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1. Angela Lansbury. Growing up, one of my absolute favourite films was Bedknobs & Broomsticks. Starring Angela Lansbury, it was the story of three children evacuated from London during the Blitz to the country home of fledgling witch Eglantine Price. Through a confluence of madcap events, the kids and Miss Price, find themselves travelling on a brass bed to a bizarre parallel (animated) universe. Oh, and then they raise an invisible army and end the war. It’s a pretty awesome movie, and I used to watch it on video every time I visited my grandparents. I was completely in awe of Miss Price, played by Angela Lansbury, and her magic powers. When I was a little older I also became quite obsessed with the TV series Murder, She Wrote, which starred Lansbury as a mystery writer who would solve murders in her little town. My favourite bit about Murder, She Wrote was the opening credits – Lansbury’s character, Jessica Fletcher, had this handsome leather compendium in which she would keep the typed pages of her manuscript. Man, I wanted a handsome leather compendium of my own. I wanted one SO BAD! Anyway, the point of these Angela Lansbury-related ramblings is that she’s in Sydney at the moment starring in the stage adaptation of Driving Miss Daisy alongside James Earl Jones. I’m going to see it on Wednesday and I can’t wait!
2. Reminiscing. As a professional writer, I rarely write for free. I’m not one of those freelancers who’ll work for the promise of ‘exposure’. But every now and then, I’ll take on a story just for the pleasure of writing it. I have one of those to do this week – writing about the dogs that have touched my life for BIDE magazine’s special ‘Animals I’ve loved’ issue. The mag’s editor, Anna, will be donating my fee to an animal charity, which is absolutely fine by me. I’m looking forward to spending a bit of time this week thinking about all the wonderful pooches I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my life with. There will probably be tears, but they’ll be good ones.
3. Vintage daaaahling. I don’t mind admitting I have a little problem with frocks. As in, I have a LOT of them. Almost 100 at last count, some still with their tags on. I KNOW, I KNOW. It’s excessive. But they’re just so pretty! I have a particular weakness for vintage dresses, especially from the 1950s. Show me a frock with a scoop neck, nipped-in waist and flouncy skirt and I just can’t say no. So it’s perhaps not necessarily a good thing that I’m going to Love Vintage, Sydney’s biggest vintage clothing fair, this weekend. Dresses will be purchased, you can count on that. I’ve set myself a budget, but it’s extremely likely that I will not stick to it. Hey, I HAVE A DISEASE!
4. Working class man. After almost nine months as a gentleman of leisure, the husband has a couple of job interviews this week. It will be weird when he goes back to work; I’ve got used to be able to hang out with him every day. But on the bright side, he’ll feel more productive and I’ll spend less time watching property shows during the day and more time writing. Probably.
5. Hot dog. So the diagnosis is in: Tex (aka Big Dog) definitely has an underactive thyroid. In fact, when the test results came in last week they revealed his levels of thyroid hormones were so low they barely even registered. My poor little love! But it’s not all bad news. Tex has been on medication for four days now, and I can really see it starting to make a difference. Lately his morning walk has been more like a drag – he’s been feeling so lethargic and unwell that he’s barely been able to manage a few steps before needing a rest. But this morning he virtually sprinted round the block! No dawdling, no digging in his heels and refusing to walk. It made me so happy, I can’t even tell you! Plus, his tablets must be given at EXACT 12-hour intervals, which means I have to get out of bed at a reasonable hour to administer his morning dose. Here’s to further improvements this week. I think we’ll have a different dog come the weekend. Not literally, of course.
6. Hot docs. I’m really excited to be heading back to school this weekend – I’m returning to AFTRS, where I completed my screenwriting studies, for a two-day course with leading documentary filmmaker Tom Zubrycki. Making documentaries really appeals to me; somehow it seems like the ideal combination of my journalism skills and my desire to tell stories on screen. Plus, I always feel good when I’m at AFTRS – there’s something about the building itself that just inspires me!
7. Camp Cool. The downside of spending my weekend at school is that I have to miss the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters camp. My Little and I had such a great time at last year’s camp, and she’s pretty disappointed that we can’t go this year. So we’re going to plan our own camp instead! We’re going to do all the fun activities from BBBS camp – kayaking, rock climbing, treasure hunts – as well as a few we’ve come up with ourselves. My Little is pretty keen to try paintball; having seen how lethal she is at laser tag, I’m not so keen on that one!
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1. Stone Roses. For me, live music is one of life’s necessities. It is as fundamental to my wellbeing as food, air, shoes and chocolate. If I go too long between gigs, I start to feel antsy and frustrated. That’s why it’s handy that this Wednesday I’ll be rocking out to Britpop (shudder) legends the Stone Roses. I am the resurrection! (I’m not really; that’s just one of their songs.)
2. Being a grown up. This week I have to do my tax return. I am looking forward to this about as much as a pap smear. But I’ll do it and then it will be done, and I’ll feel like a fully-functional adult for about three minutes. (Then I’ll remember that pap smear gag and feel like the sniggering teenager I truly am.)
3. Food fiesta. Do you ever fall out of love with food? I love eating – like, I really, really love it – and can think of few things I enjoy more than a top-notch meal. But sometimes I go through these phases where nothing really thrills me. I can’t be bothered cooking, and there’s nothing in the house I want to eat anyway. Going out to eat seems like a giant hassle, and takeaways are greasy and awful. Sometimes I find myself so unenthused by the available culinary options that I just don’t eat anything, which obviously is not a sensible option. So this week I am determined to pull myself out of my foodie funk. I’m dusting off some of my little-used recipe books, and I’m going to get in my kitchen and cook up a storm. (I am also going to resume my daily runs this week. These two things may be related.)
4. Book nerd. Are you, like me, one of those people who always intends to read ‘the classics’, but is all too easily distracted by the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel/blockbuster airport read/issue of WHO magazine? I’ve read many of the ‘great’ books, but I’m also acutely aware that, whenever one of those ‘How many of these literary classics have you read?’ memes does the rounds on Facebook, I’m lucky if I’ve flipped through even half of them. So when I heard about the Art Gallery of NSW’s Favourite British Novels of the 20th Century lecture series, I got most excited. Over 10 weeks, author (and President of the Jane Austen Society) Susannah Fullerton will be exploring 20 classic reads. I’ve signed up for four of her lectures, the first of which (Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night) is this week. Hope it’s a page-turner!
5. Funding fun. People who make films tell me that applying to funding bodies for financial assistance is a special kind of hell. I’ve never done it myself, because I’ve never attempted to make a film. But that’s all about to change – as you know, my main creative goal this year is to actually make something, and I have a specific ‘something’ in mind. But in order to make it, I need cash. That means this week I’ll be working feverishly on a couple of funding applications. If anyone out there has experience with this and wants to offer any tips, they will be gratefully received!
6. Got to get away. It’s the husband’s and my wedding anniversary next month, and happily, it falls on a weekend. Which naturally means we’re going to go on a little holiday! This week I’m going to set aside some time for planning and booking said escapade. It really speaks to my inner nerdiness that sometimes I have more fun planning a trip than actually doing said trip.
7. This week’s motto. From now on, I’ve decided I’m going to give myself a motto each week. A mantra, if you like – a little bit of verbal inspiration to help keep me focused and on track. This week it’s this: ‘If you want to do something, all you have to do is do it.’ Word.
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1. IT’S OSCARS DAY! Forget Christmas, my birthday, even my wedding anniversary (but don’t tell the husband): my most favourite day of the year is here! It’s Oscars day, people! I am a diehard Oscars tragic. I just love the frocks and the acceptance speeches and even the cringeworthy jokes (though fingers crossed this year’s host, Family Guy creator Seth Macfarlane, manages to make amends for the train wrecks of recent years). But what I love most about the Academy Awards is the motivation boost it gives me. By the end of each year’s ceremony, I’m inevitably filled with renewed conviction that telling stories on screen is what I want to do. And also that I want to wear a gazillion-dollar dress and take home a little gold statue. But mostly the storytelling thing.
2. Small screen inspiration. Speaking of storytelling, I’m super excited that later this week I’ll be attending a two-day TV Writers’ Studio at my old alma mater, AFTRS. The instructors have some seriously impressive TV credentials, including writing for and producting Emmy-winning shows. The keynote speaker is Glen Mazzara, showrunner of the acclaimed zombie apocalypse series The Walking Dead. See why I’m so psyched? It’s a TV nerd’s dream!
3. Falling off the wagon. You know what happens this week? February becomes March, that’s what. And that means Febfast is OVER! While I have enjoyed my alcohol-free month – especially sleeping better and waking up all bright eyed and bushy tailed every day – I’ll admit I have missed wine. Not in a ‘can’t live without it’ kind of way, but just in a ‘ooh, I’d really enjoy a nice glass of merlot with my dinner’ sense. This weekend the husband and I are going to stay with friends in the Blue Mountains, where I predict we will both come tumbling off the wagon in spectacular style. Chin chin!
4. Film binge. Sometimes I think I am the reason the global film and television industry still makes any money at all. I go to the movies a lot, and I rent and buy DVDs to watch at home even more frequently. I don’t download things illegally. Mostly because I’m too technologically incompetent to do so, but also because I don’t think it’s very nice to steal the work of people who sweat blood creating it. But lately this stance had left me in a bit of a pickle. You see, I intend to make a documentary film this year, and I want to watch loads of docos as research. But all the DVD rental stores near me have closed down, and iTunes only has some of the titles I want (plus, who wants to watch movies on a laptop?) What was a girl to do?! Well, naturally, I asked Twitter, and it was suggested to me that I should enter the 21st century and sign up for a Quickflix account. You’re probably all over Quickflix already, but it was something of a revelation to me. For $23 a month, they’ll post me all the DVDs I want. It’s like magic! Needless to say there are currently more films in my Quickflix queue than I could reasonably hope to watch without being glued to my TV 24 hours a day, but hey, I’ll give it a red hot go!
5. Answers. My poor puppy, Tex, hasn’t been well of late. (And when I say ‘puppy’, obviously I mean ‘five-year-old grouch quite clearly in the throes of a mid-life crisis’.) He’s been slow and lethargic, his fur has gone all thin and dry, he has an ear infection and he’s been gaining weight. Over the past couple of weeks he’s had all manner of tests, including one that required a blood sample to be sent to the US for analysis. His vet thinks he may have an underactive thyroid, but I’m worried because apparently there are other, nastier conditions that can act like hypothyroidism. This week we should get all the test results back and know for sure what’s causing Texy’s troubles. Obviously I don’t want him to be sick, but I am looking forward to getting some answers this week and being able to start treating him. My poor little love! Please keep your paws crossed for my pooch.
6. New season. Autumn officially starts on Friday. How exciting is that?! Not that this is likely to make a difference for at least a few weeks – the heat, humidity and summer storms show no signs of abating. But autumn! Yay! Not long now til it’ll be all about jumpers ‘n’ boots!
7. I Give It A Year. I must confess to a little bit of a crush on Stephen Merchant. I don’t know what it is about him – I guess seven-foot-tall, weird looking funny blokes just get my pulse racing! So I’m really looking forward to catching his latest flick, I Give It A Year, this week. It also stars Aussies Rose Byrne and Simon Baker. But I’m mostly going for the goggle-eyed freak factor.
Posted at 11:48 am | Comments Off | RSS
1. Relief. The Big Scary Project I’ve been working on for the past couple of months – the one that turned me into a stressed-out, blog-neglecting banshee – is finally finished. Just now, in fact. FINISHED! Completed. Over. Dunzo. I literally feel as though a great weight has been lifted. I can breeeeathe again. The rest of February is still very busy, but the great looming deadlines have been met, and everything else now seems eminently more do-able. Ahhhh!
2. Tickets. So lost have I been in the deep, dark well of work lately, I almost forgot how brilliant the first three months of the year are in cultural terms in Sydney. There’s amazing stuff happening in the Harbour City all year round, but for some reason the first quarter always seems to have the greatest number of must sees and dos. In the past few days I’ve bought tickets for concerts, comedy gigs, plays and movies. Oh my! All I need now is for the Sydney Film Festival to release their 2013 program and I’ll be in heaven!
3. Quality time. The husband was made redundant from his job back in July, and has been enjoying a life of leisure ever since. But he’s starting to get a bit antsy at home, and I fear the time is almost upon us when he’s going to rejoin the ranks of the gainfully employed. Drag. That means that over the next few weeks, I want to squeeze in as much quality time with him as I can. People are often surprised when I say I really like hanging out with my spouse, but he’s pretty fun. (That’s not to say he doesn’t shit me to tears sometimes. I mean, seriously, COULD YOU POSSIBLY CLOSE A CUPBOARD JUST ONE TIME?!) So here’s to as many lazy lunches and spontaneous road trips as we can fit into these last days of summer.
4. Winter wear. Speaking of the last days of summer, I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to autumn and winter. I received a lovely parcel of goodies from ASOS last week (which is to say that I bought them, not that some mysterious fashion benefactor is just sending me stuff for the hell of it) and they’re all black and wintry and just waiting for some chilly weather. I don’t know why I love the cold so much – perhaps I’m part polar bear. All I know is, this week is likely to involve plenty of longing gazes at my new garb (including these super cute boots!), and perhaps a rain dance or two.
5. Grown-up behaviour. When you’re self-employed, constantly scrabbling for money is your lot in life. Even when you’ve booked enough work, you still seem to be skint – chasing up unpaid invoices is a daily occurrence for me. But at the moment, my bank account is actually in the black. Ask any freelancer: this almost NEVER happens. Even more bizarre is the fact that I intend to do something useful with this money, as opposed to spending it on beer and skirts like I normally do. This week I’m reading books about investment and other grown-up financial matters, and I intend to make my meagre savings earn their keep. So that when I’m 65 I’ll have even MORE money to spend on beer and skirts!
6. Pampering. So this happened: on Saturday night I found my first grey hair. I’m not ashamed to tell you I cried. For, like, a really long time. Sigh. I do not imagine I’ll be one of those women who ages gracefully, which is why this week I’ve decided I’m going to indulge in a little bit of pampering. As well as an immediate trip to my colourist, I’m going to sort out my poor chewed-up fingernails and my stress-induced sallow skin, and have a massage with my massage-therapist-turned-awesome-friend, Cathy. It’s going to be like a 1980s high school movie makeover! Or something…
7. Girls. Sometimes people are surprised when I tell them that I get that ‘Sunday night feeling’ that heralds the advent of a new working week. Apparently when you work from home you’re not supposed to suffer from Mondayitis. I did not get that memo. But lately, Mondays have been my favourite day – because Monday is when I get to watch the new episode of Girls. If you haven’t seen this show (it screens on Showcase, but you can also download it from the iTunes Store), you need to jump on the bandwagon NOW. It is utterly, utterly brilliant. It makes me want to be a better writer, only two other TV series have ever inspired that feeling in me (Mad Men and The Sopranos). Seriously, people. Get on it!
Posted at 12:18 pm | Comments Off | RSS
Hello! I'm a multi award-winning writer, editor and sub-editor with nearly 15 years' experience on newspapers and magazines in several countries.
The former editor of a national women's health magazine, I now specialize in writing about health, fitness, nutrition, weight loss and wellbeing. I've contributed to leading Australian magazines including Notebook:, Good Health, Woman's Day, Weight Watchers, Body + Soul, Your Body and Take 5.
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