Thursday, 31 January 2013

A wet and windy day of celebration

In a brilliant flash of fore-thought, some of my friends booked an apartment up in Caloundra for the Australia Day long weekend and invited all comers to drive up and enjoy sun, surf, BBQ and beer. It would be a glorious day that would celebrate what we we love about Australia.
However, as we all know, the day was cold, gloomy, rain-lashed and flood-ridden. It was awful. This particularly irritated me as I and my housemate were playing host to British guest who was celebrating his first Australia Day and I wanted it to be glorious and scream AUSTRALIA. Not be borderline Scarborough.

Nevertheless, we headed up the coast in the lashing rain and proceeded to have a pretty classic Australia Day. The only thing that was missing was the sunshine.

My friend Kiki (who just launched a new blog) decorating the Pavlova nice and early, before too much beer was consumed.

Kitsch Australiana: green and gold macarons, enormous glasses and decorative flags.

Applying temporary tattoos. Because on some days, you can leave the class behind.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Earworms: A Nightmare for Our Times

Anyone who knows me in real life knows I get songs stuck in my head with alarming regularity. It's a thing; if I hear Robbie Williams on the sound system in a shopping mall, or someone singing a nursery rhyme under their breath, or even if I catch just a snatch of a Miley Cyrus tune from the window of a passing car, sometimes I'm doomed to have it niggling in my brain for hours.

Sometimes I don't even have to have heard it; sometimes I get a song stuck in my head that I haven't heard in months. I've even woken up in the morning a few times, and had a song stuck in my head before I'm even properly conscious. (Appropriately, this happened most recently with the theme song for Degrassi. Don't go listen to it, though; damn song is catchy!)

According to this article, people try all sorts of things to get rid of ear worms. Listening to other songs, distracting themselves with work (as if that would help), and even not drinking (why would that work?). But, like the pink elephant in the room, trying not to think about the song you've got stuck in your head is actually the worst thing you can do.

In my experience, that's actually very true. I've found that ignoring the strains of If I Could Turn Back Time as it circles endlessly around in my poor brain actually almost never works for getting rid of the damn song. On the contrary, the thing that works the most often is getting hold of a copy of the entire thing and listening to it the whole way through a couple of times. Which, when the song stuck in your head is something excruciating, is usually the last thing you want to do. But sometimes it's the only way.

Even if it means downloading Call Me Maybe.

(Sometimes you get to be this guy though. That's cool.)

Friday, 25 January 2013

Five In Five

Would you go on a date with someone for charity? Not because they haven't had a date in so long, but for a bona fide not-for-profit cause?

Five in Five challenges single people to go on five dates in five weeks and raise funds for charities that work to break the cycle of social disadvantage. It runs from 2 February - 8 March 2013. Five Saturday nights, if you're a Saturday-night-date kind of person.

Looking for people online is strictly out. This is about good old-fashioned see someone and want to see them again dating. Five in Five encourages you to ask out people you meet in the everyday – your cute barista, that guy who catches your bus, or perhaps someone you already know but have never had the guts to ask out for a drink.

If you register for Five In Five, you will be sent a bundle of information about the project, who to find your dates and importantly, how to raise funds. Friends and family can support you on your dates (presumably in exchange for the juicy details) and all the money you raise goes to charities that work to break the cycle of social disadvantage. Helping those people in need in your own community – where you also found your dates.

This is a sweet and fun way to make a grass-roots difference. You make a difference to yourself by accepting this challenge, because it takes courage to ask someone on a date, and the money you raise gives others a helping hand as well.

And if you do have someone in mind that you’ve been dying to ask out, what could be a better reason for the big ask than ‘It’s for charity’. 

Find out all about Five In Five on their website, follow them on twitter and see if you know anyone who is taking part.  

Images sourced from the Five In Five website.

Paris Couture Week S/S 2013

Paris Couture Week spring/summer 2013. Over and done with and below are some of my eye-dazzling favourites from the few designers who can afford to produce these luscious but ruinously expensive collections. As I've said before, couture is the epitome of fashion. It is among the last remaining reminders that once every piece of clothing we wore, from our nightdresses to our bustles, was hand-made.

This fashion week in particular was enchanting for me as it seemed many of the designers moved away from edgy statements and unattractive extravagance to pieces that could at least in theory, be worn. There was an abundance of ultra-femininity; lace, fine embroidery, sequins, monochrome, pale colours, demure and classic. A bit of a hark-back to the golden age of couture in the 1950s. As if every house was going back to the archives and doing what they did best - from high-voltage sexy of Versace to structure and nipped waists at Dior.

For more professional coverage, check out Vogue Australia and and Harpers Bazaar has backstage as well.

 Atelier Versace. High-voltage slinky and sexy, as always. Photos courtesy of

 Chanel. Suited, booted, classic. Photos courtesy of Vogue Australia.

 Christian Dior, one of my two favourite shows of the season. I loved every look. 

Elie Saab. Always one of my favourites for the beauty and style of his designs. Moreover, year after year, they are the sort of dresses and gowns I would buy if I ever had the opportunity. They are dresses I would thrill to wear.

I may have over-indulged on the photo-board.

Five for Friday no. 53

The best engagement photos you'll ever see! I promise!

I want to stay here.

Styling You blog. It's local and it's accessible. For women, not girls. 

America's first bookless library will be landing in Texas.

The School of Life bookshop in Melbourne.

And for no reason other than it's the cutest photo I've seen all week:

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Review: The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

I finally read The Book Thief!

Almost two years ago, when B and I first began this blog, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was on my list of books, the ones I owned but had never read. And it continued to sit there, unread, until, ironically, I bought a copy for my Kindle and read it on that. What can I say? The Kindle is handy for holidays.

But anyway, the book itself absolutely and completely lived up to all the good things I had heard about it. For those who don't already know - and honestly, I'd be surprised - The Book Thief is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young German girl living in the shadow of the Nazi Party and World War 2. She first comes to the narrator's attention in 1939, when her younger brother dies as they are travelling by train to Munich and has to be buried by the tracks. Liesel steals her first book - The Gravedigger's Handbook - even though she can't read yet, and so begins a pattern of biblio thievery that lasts the next five years of her life.

And the whole thing is narrated by Death.

I feel like this is a gambit that could easily have not worked, but in this case it does. The strange framing offered by Death's narration adds a new perspective and feels like a new way to tell a story about ordinary Germans dealing with the privations of the war, their instincts to help their Jewish friends and neighbours, and the need to avoid attracting the punitive attentions of the Nazi regime. It also draws constant, inescapable attention to the fact that, in Germany in this period, Death was everywhere. Literally. The soldiers, the Jews, the German civilians. The body count was immense, and with Death's narration this book is rightfully steeped in it.

However, part of the reason it works so well is that Zusak pays attention to Death as a compassionate force. The narration has a particular voice, one that mixes omniscience, bad jokes about its profession, and a huge amount of sympathy for the humans it encounters (by which I mean the dead ones). Death is unable to prevent the terrible things humans do to other humans, but it does its best to be there for all of us in the end.

The focus of the story, though, is Liesel. Her train trip in 1939 was actually a separation; her Communist parents seem to have been forced to give her up, and so she was travelling to Munich to be fostered out. Through her grief, she discovers and eventually embraces her new family, which consists of Rosa, her bad-tempered new mother who has a heart of gold below her angry red face, and Hans, her unbelievably kind, caring new father, who plays the accordion and bonds with Liesel over her nightmares. He's also the one who - crucially - finally teaches her how to read. Liesel also develops friendships with the neighbourhood kids, especially Rudy Steiner, the boy next door who insists that one day she will let him give her a kiss.

As The Book Thief explores Liesel's life, it maintains an excellent balance between the mundane day-to-day and the terrible events of World War 2. The complexity of the situation is fully explored, and starkly depicted. Liesel's family were hard-up before the war started, and as the German economy suffers, their circumstances grow worse and worse. Liesel and Rudy don't just steal books, they occasionally get hungry enough to steal food as well. Despite their poverty, though, the family doesn't hesitate to hide a Jewish man in their basement when the opportunity arises. Max, the Jew, becomes a friend to Liesel, and even manages to make a book for her. She keeps him secret, even as she and Rudy have to take part in the Hitler Youth Program and Hans has to join the Nazi Party. Then come the parades of Jews, marched through the town by Nazi soldiers. Dachau is, after all, just down the road.

Somehow, even with all this, The Book Thief still has a kind of youthfulness. Maybe it's the simple yet evocative language, maybe it's that Liesel, the focal point, is so young. A key aspect of her character is that she is honestly too young to understand why these terrible things keep happening to her. She grieves, she hates those responsible, yet she struggles to survive purely because she doesn't know how to do anything else. Janet Maslin at The New York Times mentioned 'Harry Potter and the Holocaust' in her review, and in a way, that's a strangely accurate parallel: The Book Thief - like Harry Potter - successfully marries loss on an extreme scale with an unsentimental kind of compassion. Human beings are capable of horrendous atrocity, but some of them resist, and at least Death is generous.

The Age
The NY Times

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Book review: Lola Bensky by Lily Brett

Read my full review on Sassi Sam.

Lola is almost a book about nothing nothing much but it is a brilliant portrait of an 'ordinary' women. Based on Lily Brett's life as a young journalist for an Australian rock magazine, the novel opens with Lola interviewing Jimi Hendrix minutes after an early gig. She travels in London and the US, interviewing some of the most incredible musicians of the 1960s. From there, the novel skips over the decades of Lola's life, drawing a slow portrait of a women who lives a life any of us could. What separates Lola from the mass of people is her parents, both of whom are Auschwitz survivors. This novel is a fascinating look at what it is like to be the child of holocaust survivors – a notion almost none of us would be able to comprehend without books such as this – and how being the child of a survivor affect you, in ways that can never be imagined. 

Lola Bensky is a novel with a difference and an excellent read that I would heartily recommend.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Book review: Lace by Shirley Conran

Read my full review on Sassi Sam.

Lace by Shirley Conran came out in the 1980s and became a feminist bonkbuster bestseller. It traces the lives of four very different women who share a teenage past. 

The novel starts out in a Swiss finishing school, all Dior gowns, handsome ski teams and what would now be viewed as rape. The first part of the book did not speak to me at all. Though an element of this luxurious improbability lingers, the novel grows to be an affirming story of four women who don't always have in easy, don't always have money but who do always have each other. At the final pages I must admit that I loved every minute of you.

Oh, and there's a lot of sex thrown in too, not all of it rape and a some quite titillating.

The best of Brisbane?

At the end of this week, a British friend will be joining me in Brisbane for a couple of weeks, perhaps longer. As the local, I need to show of the best of this city. They've been to Brisbane before so I don't need to start at square one. I want to show the bars and restaurants that make it fun, the day trips that highlight a weekend, the cafes that jazz up your morning. 

All without breaking the bank - so 5-star restaurants are off the list. 

Some of places I'm thinking of showing off are:

  • Tipplers' Tap
  • Scratch (already been and liked it)
  • Canvas
  • Green Beacon (depending on when it opens)
  • Sixes and Sevens
  • The R.E. - for sentimental University Days reasons.
  • Lady Lammington
  • SuperWhatnot
  • Archive
  • Black Star Coffee
  • Saabi on Manson
  • Kettle and Tin
  • Bishamon
  • Ole
  • Harajuku Gyoza
  • Pearl Cafe
  • Soul Bistro
(why is this list so short? I must drink out and eat in all the time.)

Days out
  • Mooloolaba
  • Wynnum
  • Maleny
  • Gold Coast Hinterland

I need to flesh out my list. There are dozens of cafes, restaurants and bars opening in Brisbane that I haven't got around to visiting yet. This might be the time.

Any suggestions will be gratefully received!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A year to do new things: I go to a pole dancing class

Last week I got invited by some dance class friends to attend a casual pole dancing, just for kicks. I had always wanted to try pole dancing so I agreed to join them at The Pole Gym on Friday night for a fun new experience.

Step one: dress appropriately

If you look on the website of any pole dancing class, they ask you to wear as little as possible to the class. Skin sticks to the pole when fabric does not, making it easier for you to do the moves and less likely to fall in a cottony, messy heap at the base of your exercise stick. Suggested attire is shorts; short shorts. Hot pants-like short shorts.

Now, I don’t own any short shorts. At least not ones I can wear around people. I have one pair that are like thick cotton high-waisted knickers, the kind you wear around the house on hot days when you really want to be in underwear but you live with a housemate, not someone who regularly sees you naked.

So off to Target I went to buy cheap exercise short shorts to pose in when dancing around a pole. Unfortunately, boring shops like target don't offer much choice for exercise knickers. It was teenagers' shorts, which were short enough, and had sequins!

or cut off leggings:

I opted instead for ghastly but cheap cotton shorts that could be tucked up. Now I was prepared.

Step two: the class

After work and a potentially injudicious glass of punch at Bacchus, I drove all the way to Lawnton for the class at the Pole Gym. This small but high space contained a forest of poles, mirrors and a rack of clothes for sale blazoned with 'Invert Your Thinking' and 'Live Fast Pole Hard'. The Pole Gym holds classes in pole dancing or pole fitness, aerial hoop and aerial silks. There was a class on when I arrived, pole sculpt, which I was informed by a girl in the later class was 'torture'.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Nobody else could do it.

Marilyn Munroe. The only person who could make a Mormon-style onesie look sexy.


2013 Golden Globes

I was, I admit, a little excited when I learned that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were going to host the 2013 Golden Globes. I've never sat down and watched a televised awards show in my life because I just don't care. But here might be the one and only time I would put myself through the endless ad breaks and bad acceptance speeches because it stood a real chance of being entertaining.

So of course it was only shown on Foxtel in Australia. Too bad so sad.

Here is the next best thing for anyone else who was interested: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's opening monologue.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

A weekend on North Stradbroke Island

I have a soft spot for North Stradbroke Island. All through Primary School, it was where we went for our family beach holidays and I have wonderful memories of sandy houses and quiet streets, mornings and afternoons in the surf and packets of pringles popped on the beach at sunset. Mmmm...pringles.

So when Jane offered me a long weekend at Straddie I leapt at the chance.We caught the ferry over on a Wednesday afternoon, after I had been at work for a whole three days. We were in a house on Prosperity Street at Point Lookout, right next door to about three houses I had stayed in when I was younger. Point Lookout had not changes one iota from my memories of it. The shops, the houses, everything at least seemed identical.

Prosperity Street is easy walking distance to both Deadmans Beach and Cylinder Beach. Cylinder Beach is one of the most popular beaches at Point Lookout, usually crowded out with families and tourists. Only locals and holiday makers in the know go around the rocks to Deadmans. Less family friendly but not crowded and all around a more enjoyable place to spend a few hours.

Early morning on Deadmans Beach.

 Settling in for a swim and a bit of beach reading.

A tiny piece of bluebottle stinger washed on to my hand. I hadn't been stung for years and I can put it off again for another decade at least. It looked redder in real life than in this photo.

This old gent and his dog were having a great time. He was fully clothed complete with hard working boots and thick socks. You could have put him on a sheep station and he would not have looked out of place.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Five for Friday no. 51

The Billionaire Shop. It exists.

11 new Brisbane bars to try. I've been to 3, a forth this weekend.
  • Alfred and Constance - good food and oh-so-very hip Queensland.
  • InCider Trading - my new favourite bottle shop, the bar is just a good bonus. 
  • Tipplers Tap - get there asap. Great beer, cheap and tasty food. A good place to waste Hours!

Heading to Sixes and Sevens this Saturday and looking forward to it!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

You know when you do that thing where you eat or drink something so fast, you're a little bit embarrassed at your food-hoovering abilities?

I just did that.

But whatever.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A year to do new things? I try Irish Dancing.

Last night I tried Irish dancing for the first time in my life and I have to be honest – it was so much more fun than I had anticipated.

I don’t know why I was surprised. Ireland / Irish sort of equates to fun in my mind. Even though the one time I was in the Ireland I got the worst case of food poisoning of my life, I forgive, because Irish culture is disarmingly charming.   

Anyways, I go to weekly dance classes that are fantastic fun and you should come along. At the start of the year, my teacher organises a ‘Dance Detox’. Two hours of dance class a night for five nights, to get us back into the year, detox after the excesses of the holiday season and of course, have fun. Each night there are two different types of dance class – belly dancing, ballet, break dancing, Bollywood, latin dancing, etc. So over a week, you try out 8 to 10 different dance styles.  Last night it was a contemporary jazz routine to Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ followed by Irish dancing!

The Irish dancing class was taken by Kate from Lynagh Irish Dancing Studio. She started us out slow with three basic steps which we strung together to do a traditional party / festival dance in a huge circle. The steps got faster and faster until we were a jigging, giggling mess of a class. It was terrific fun!

After an hour of Irish dance I expected my thighs to ache but I had to concentrate so hard on the steps that my legs forgot to hurt. Not that the steps were complicated, they were just new and different and fast!

That’s what I love about going to dance classes – unlike going to the gym, it’s a mind and body work out. The concentration required to ‘leap 2-3’ correctly, in time and in configuration was so much more of a work out that I was anticipated.

If you’re in Brisbane and want to try ‘Dance Detox’ it’s on for the rest of this week at the Old Museum. Check out the Facebook page here.

Otherwise, my regular dance classes start next week and new comers are always welcome. It’s fun and easy and a great workout. Bollywood Connections website.

Finally, if you want to try Irish dancing, Kate from Lynagh Irish Dancing was a great teacher.

Finally, for your amusement...

Friday, 4 January 2013

Five for Friday no. 50

In honour of the New Year, some famous resolution lists.

There are over 800 languages spoken in NYC, many of them endangered.

The Queensland Government is reviewing compulsory voting legislation

La Boite is presenting Holding The Man in February and it looks to be a wonderful show.

There are a lot of British-comedy in-jokes but still, this...

Sydney and the Excellent Weekend! (Pt 2)


Garry. Or possibly Muriel. (Photo from
Mondays are always so much better when you don't have to go to work. Our Monday in Sydney was sort of cloudy and grey, and when we went outside it was hella windy. We walked through the city down King Street, to Darling Harbour again  because our plan for the morning was to go to the Sydney Sealife Aquarium - another tradition for these trips. Last time we came down, we named the dugongs, and so this time we wanted to check in on Garry and Muriel.

Sentimental attachments to zoo animals aside, the aquarium is a super-interesting place to visit. (Avoid the weekend crowds if you can, though, seriously.) The displays seem well set up and pretty well cared for, and I'm a fan of those underwater walkways they do. It's always so cool when a huge sting ray swims right over your head, you know? And the fish themselves are kind of awesome; I always come out wanting to watch Finding Nemo, cause damn that movie is accurate.

We took another ride on the ferry afterwards, back around to Circular Quay. We were headed in the direction of Jamie's Italian, which is just off Martin Place and the Sydney installment of the Jamie Oliver cooking empire. They don't take reservations, so we fronted up for lunch at around 12.15 and waited in the bar for a table.

I'm not totally sure what I was expecting, but honestly, the overall experience was pretty top notch. It might be a chain restaurant, but it didn't really feel like one. The venue and decor were pretty nice, and seemed well-considered. The drinks were great; there were some lovely Italian wines on the menu. The food was delicious, too, and I know the fresh-twist-on-classic-dishes is a thing he does, but it works really well in this case. The service was really good, too. It seemed like they put a lot of effort in, but they pulled it off without seeming like they were trying too hard or taking themselves too seriously. Plus, reasonably priced. Two thumbs up from me!

Following lunch, we rode our post-food mellow back into the city and wandered around for some more shopping. Sadly, we visited Kinokuniya again, and I may have bought one more thing... (Considering I bought about twelve items on one previous visit, three total still seems tame.) We did a bit of Christmas shopping, and a bit of looking at beautiful things we could never afford to buy. (Jo Malone cologne is delicious, and anyone who wants to buy me something expensive should come talk.)

Over this trip, we'd been for a couple of walks in Hyde Park, and it's honestly one of my favourite things to do in Sydney. You can go and sit on the grass, or get a bench in the avenue under the fig trees. It's a great place to sit and have a chat, or listen to the buskers. We happened to sit near a couple of young guys playing Christmas Carols on a pair of what looked like tiny tubas. (Possibly euphoniums? Or alto horns?*)

For dinner, we met up with a buddy of ours, and went to the Nippon Club, which was amazing! It's very unassuming-looking - the decor's not unlike an RSL - but it's got Japanese beer on tap, lots of kinds of sake, and delicious Japanese food including an in-house sushi chef, who makes THE BEST fresh sushi. Delicious!


Our friend from dinner Monday night (and Saturday's basement bar crawl, incidentally) offered to get us in to the Francis Bacon exhibit at the Gallery of NSW for free, which we were naturally pretty excited about, so on Tuesday morning we walked into the Domain to take in some art.

The exhibit was excellent. It was a retrospective of his work, containing pieces arranged according to decade - the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, as well as source material from his workshop and a documentary about the exhibit. What I liked about the arrangement was that it let you see how Bacon had developed as an artist, and how the themes and imagery he used evolved over time. In the descriptions and blurbs, there were also tantalising tidbits about his life, and the art scene in London in the 1950s and 60s. All of it was very interesting; I'm thinking about tracking down some kind of super-gossipy autobiography or something.

(Image from
Once we'd enjoyed the show, we headed back into the CBD for lunch. Notice how I didn't mention breakfast? We didn't have any; the plan was to go to another of our favourite Sydney spots. Diethnes is a very old-school Greek restaurant on Pitt Street, away from the mall, down past Bathurst Street. It's an older restaurant, established over 50 years ago, and the food is awesome (and incredibly filling, hence the no-breakfast thing). Last time we were here, we ate Diethnes and Ichi Ban Boshi on the same day - mistaaaaake.

After a delicious lunch, we wrapped up our trip with some more shopping and last-minute Christmas-gift-hunting. We went for another walk in Hyde Park, then headed back to the hotel to pack before the gig we were going to**.

Thus tragically ended our Sydney holiday! We took the train to the airport at ass o'clock the next morning, and were back in Brisvegas by around 10.30am. (I went straight to work, it was awful.) Overall verdict was that it was totally worth it, though. An early-December mini-break is a great way to relax in advance of the Christmas season, especially if you can go somewhere low-key, and enjoy yourself with lots of good food and good shopping.*** Merry Christmas, folks!

*I tried to work out what these instruments were, but I'm really not sure. Meanwhile, how hilarious are sousaphones?

**Alexisonfire, on their Farewell Tour, at the Hordern Pavillion. Too excellent to write about.

***I guess other people like to exercise or do things on their holidays or something? I don't know. For me, walking places and drinking beer and eating things equals good times, what can I say?

Movie review: Life of Pi

I read Life of Pi by Yann Martel back in 2001 when it first came out. I admit I had mixed feelings about it at the time. I loved the story. The pure, unadulterated proper story that is fantastical and enchanting and the sort of story you wish you had been told as a child. However at the time, I found it a little heavy-going in the middle, a bit of a struggle to get through. I enjoyed it but was glad I had finished it. The book still sits on my shelves and I have no intention of throwing it out because it is a great novel.

However, when I saw earlier this year that a movie had been made I was sceptical bordering on dismissive. How could you possibly make a movie out of that book? It was a story and a philosophical work. Not to mention that one of the central protagonists is a tiger trapped in a boat. Of course, I hadn't taken into consideration the amazing progress that has been made in digital CGI work for films. Life of Pi could not have been made without CGI and the whole film relies on the combination of director Ang Lee's beauteous vision of what the book should look like and the incredible skills of the digital department.

New Years Eve 2012

NYE is over rated. Let's just all admit that and get on with things. I love the reason for celebrating because it is so universal and uncontroversial. I wish NYE was the best night of the year. But it just isn't.

Which is why, to mark the passing of 2012, Jane and I decided that what we really wanted to do was eat, drink and be merry in good company and that's All. For a while it was just the two of us, but as it turned out we had quite a few friends at a loss for something to do. In the end, 13 NYE orphans gathered at my apartment for an end of year feast.

 Taking up every available square inch of bench space to prepare.

 Before dinner, we made all our guests sit down to watch 'Dinner For One', a German NYE tradition.
If you haven't seen it, you're missing out on one of life's simple pleasures.

 Friends up from Melbourne. 

I've never cooked for 13 before and I was worried I'd under-catered. In fact, I had a whole extra dish that I didn't complete because it required filo pastry and I forgot to read the damn instructions (you have to take filo out of the freezer a day early and prepare it, etc. blah blah). I went a bit nuts on using recipes I've never tried before from recipes books I got for Christmas, but I think it's fun to discover new favourites. Fortunately, there was plenty of food and no complaints about the cuisine.

 Waiting for the cook.

Tucking in. It looked better than this photo, honestly. 

As always, resolutions came up in conversation. None of us had made any and were generally not keen to commit ourselves. Personally, I think resolutions work best if you have a plan for how to keep them. I have a lot of goals for 2013 but no real 'resolutions'. The best suggested resolution for the night, and which I think I might adopt was 'Get my shit together'. Simple, effective.

One project for the year I have decided to take up is based on an idea I read about that seemed appropriate for me. I had a rough 2012, not a lot of good stuff seemed to happen and it was generally very draining. So my project for 2013 is to write down in a little notebook whenever anything positive occurs and then at the end of the year I can read all the good things that happened to me and remind myself that life is great. They don't have to be big happenings. For instance, in there at the moment is a really sweet compliment someone paid me and a reminder of a glorious day I spent at the beach. Life has few big happy moment but lots of little happy moments and they are just as important to remember. 

My notebook.

 Happy New Year Everyone!

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