Book challenge 2019

When I wrote last I challenged myself to read ten books this year. Since I have a basket of books beside my bed I decided to start with those, including finishing a couple I have already started.

  1. The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome – Tony Attwood. Started this one on the holidays. My daughter has Asperger’s and so this is information gathering in how she thinks and what we can do to help her.
  2. Ishamel – Daniel Quinn. This book was recommended by a fellow traveller on the way to Seattle in 2017. I bought it but haven’t read it yet.
  3. Change your thinking – Sara Edelman. Again, a recommendation, this time from my old boss in response to a question about dealing with stress.
  4. The Conscious Parent – Shefali Tsabary. I’m always on the lookout for different books about parenting. I’ve started this one but not finished it.
  5. We – Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel. This is a very nice self help book with a few exercises so I’ve stopped half way. One of the beautiful visualisations I do now is from the first half of this book.
  6. Sagaland – Richard Fidler and Kari Gislason. A book I got at Christmas 2017…the year we went to Iceland.
  7. Adultery – Paulo Coelho. A present (self bought) for my birthday last year.
  8. The Australian Autism Handbook – Benison O’Reilly and Kathryn Wick. A borrowed book from a friend when my daughter got diagnosed. I’ve had it for a year, probably should give it a read!
  9. Women who run with the wolves – Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I’ve heard of this one but never read it – was a 2018 Christmas present.
  10. Leading mindfully – Amanda Sinclair. I’ve been reading this one at work while getting my plasma taken (work lets me donate) but bought it home to finish over the holidays. Didn’t touch it.
  11. Bonus book … Should I stay or should I go – James Ball. A bit of fun from the kids 2018 Christmas present about the questions in songs and their answers.
  12. Bonus book … Purposeful – Jennifer Dulski. A book from a workshop I got and started reading while waiting for it to start. Only got a few pages in but it was quite engaging so hopefully I’ll get back to it!
  13. Bonus book … Mindful Eating – Rachel Bartholomew and Mandy Pearson. I’m half way through this light and illustrated book that talks about mindful eating and eating whole foods.

So, here I go for the year. Won’t necessarily read them in that order but as I’ve already started some of them it won’t be too hard to do… will it?!

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,

2019 Resolutions

Although we are at day six of the new year, I’m finally getting to put these resolutions down in writing!

  1. Continue getting healthier
  2. Enjoy my work and challenge myself to get better
  3. Get a new tattoo and have adventures
  4. Self care and manage stress
  5. Have a fantastic wedding!

I also challenge myself to read ten books this year. I did read a few in 2018 like ‘Dare to lead’ by Brene Brown (thanks to the lovely) and ‘A course in love’ by Alain de Botton (also thanks to the lovely). Also read one on girls with Aspergers and a couple of the Miss Peregrine books (I think that was 2018…) but as I was studying I didn’t do a lot of reading aside from a fair amount of project management theory. I have a pile of books next to my bed so I’ll make a list and get reading!

My other challenge – leave Facebook. It’s day six and I haven’t checked it yet in 2019. I still have the account but have taken the app off both my devices. I’ve also distracted myself with something I haven’t touched in over a year – Candy Crush!! Insert horror music here! I think I’ll be right though – tomorrow it’s back to work time, and with my official reading challenge now in place and plenty of other things to focus on, I’ll be OK without both. I’ll keep you posted!

I hope you are challenging yourself to do something fun this year!

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,


It’s not often I get to photograph an abandoned building and even this one is a little different…mushroom factory!

A little creepy…could be a location for a horror film in the right lighting!

Interesting shapes and textures though!

P.S. I’m so torn with how to display these pictures – I need to keep a handle on my blog size as it’s up to 82% of media used. However they don’t display very well on the laptop. Does it matter? Can you still get the gist of the photo if it’s not full size? I’m also conscious of people’s download speeds (I hate a slow download myself!). What do you think?

The climb to health

This morning I read an article about a woman who had lost 25 kilos and then put it all on again. It’s a story that is recognisable to many overweight people – getting in and losing it but being unable to maintain that focus and putting the weight back on – and then some.

I’ve done this myself several times in my life – actually probably more like half a dozen times if I think about it. Although the baseline changes each time (spoiler alert it gets higher) the result is the same. Successful weight loss and then within six months it comes back on.

I think the author of the article simplifies it a lot when she says it’s that she becomes too busy being a mum, worker and wife to focus on herself. For me, there might be some of that but the real reason is that the habits were not fully formed and supported, plus you can never, ever discount the impact of emotional eating and that dreaded ‘stuff’ messing with you. It’s super powerful, likely to have been there for a long time and is not perturbed by a little diet!

It is vital to work on the reason why you are eating your pain in the first place. Having done (and continuing to do) that work, I feel the most confident I’ve been that the weight I have lost (I’m half way to my long term goal of 80 kilos) will not return in the long run. That and the habits and knowledge formed with support from Noom (you could try whatever one you like) are helping me feel that being overweight is not inevitable.

Now more than ever, I need to get this right. My 12 year old daughter recently had a scary blood test that said she was pre diabetic. This was the thing that scared the shit out of me in 2017, so I definitely don’t want my daughter to fall into poor health. To this end, and to assist my ex and I in getting on the same page about what we needed to do to help her, I booked us into a nutritionist to talk some things through. It’s tricky when she has to swing between two houses with two different styles of living.

Nutritionist Clare was suitably upbeat and practical about what we should be working on – consistency and food quality. Get those right, she said, and the rest will follow pretty well. We agreed to work on one meal in the next few weeks and then return to check in with how that went. Lunch was chosen.

My daughter and I came home and got straight to it. We didn’t have any baby spinach leaves to go with a salmon wrap, but she had the wrap with a cooked carrot instead.

The aim of this is, as Nutritionist Clare put it, to add wellness to the plate. Energy (fat, carbs and protein) are on one side and wellness (vitamins, fibre and minerals) are on the other.

I love that my daughter has taken to it already – I made lunch yesterday but today she made it herself – a ham and cheese wrap and had a half a cup of peas. She even declared that the frozen peas would make a great snack! I’m so proud of her for giving it a crack.

In the meantime, I’m also trying to be a good example of someone who is making healthy choices and moving. Burning off 1000 kilojoules in the pool is quite easy (and getting quicker for me) and although it’s a goal, I’m trying to focus my daughter on the activity over the result.

Also, the heatwave Australia is in right now means that regular outside activities are not practical, so I do an early walk before a mid day pool session. Not sure how I’m going to manage it next week back at work, but perhaps I won’t need the afternoon nap as much! I’m looking forward to scheduling some after work pool sessions instead, and working on doing my early morning walk straight after I get up – might have to try the trick of sleeping in my gear!

If one of your resolutions is to lose weight this year, make sure you support it by planning (seriously, I’ve become a Sunday meal prepper for at least lunches), meeting short term milestones and focussing on the health benefits over the weight loss. At least, that’s my advice as it’s worked for me so far!

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,

A year in travel

Although the lovely and I did a massive OS trip in 2017 which was fabulous, we also got around to a few places this year, including the far flung climes of Western Australia!

Highlights for me travelling Australia this year were:

Lots of AMAZING meals – just had another fantastic one yesterday at Poacher’s Pantry locally but I think the stand out would have to be Aria in Sydney. Again, the lovely picks the best places for us to explore!

Hope you had a great year travelling and discovering the world (or even just your local area) in 2018!

Where will you (and I) go next year?

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,


‘It’s been a big year’

Said everybody in 2018.

But does anyone ever say ‘nah, it was pretty boring actually’? Maybe they do but it hasn’t been me in quite a few years!

I’ve already talked about meeting my resolutions and also the things I’ll leave behind in 2018. However, I’d like to take a few things with me into 2019, because there is a lot of good in this year of 2018 for myself and the family!

My relationship with the lovely has been utterly vital to my happiness and contentment in life. Our house here in the country, with our kids, cats and chickens (don’t forget the budgie!) is a haven. I often sit in the garden and think that it is a paradise. It’s not perfect and we continue to work on it – blended families and relationships are hard work. However, I take with me the knowledge that I am loved and am marrying the most amazing woman in 2019.

I’ll take the opportunity and growth I’ve had at work and the study I finished in 2018 forward into 2019 and see where it takes me. I’ve learned a bit but there is a lot that’s left and I’m keen to be the manager/leader that I’ve always admired.

Our new kittens – Hugo and Stella – will be a welcome addition to the family and our lives for many years to come. Currently just under eight weeks old, they are super cute and playful – adored already by the human family but still not so much by Jack and Rosie, our two three year old cats. Jack is doing pretty well with them but Rosie is still hissing and growling nearly a week later. We hope they will all get along eventually.

The continued journey to better health and weight will continue. The movement I do every day I’ve come to realise is important for me to manage my stress. I love my Apple Watch because it helps keep me on track with moving every day. Noom has been great but I’ve cancelled it now so let’s see how it goes without it! I can still use the app to record my weight, exercise and calories so it will still be there to assist.

And I’ll continue working on my mental health, which has been a work in progress this year as well.

These things will form my new year’s resolutions for 2019.

Hopefully you’ll have some things to bring forward and build upon as well!

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,

Down at the pantry

Today the lovely and I had lunch at Poacher’s Pantry, about 20 minutes out of Canberra. We’d gone there earlier in the year and they weren’t open, so I decided a Christmas gift lunch was in order.

It’s surprising to me how often these little out of the way places are so packed – but there’s a reason! The food is amazing!

For entrée the lovely had confit chicken and pumpkin puree, while I had the rhubarb and caramelised shallot tart with goats cheese. Both delicious, although I think mine had the edge – the rhubarb was quite firm on top of the tart and all together the dish was very balanced.

Next up, I ordered my go to – pork belly – and the lovely tried the smoked lamb. Again, both delicious. Lamb was really good with spelt grain and swede puree. The pork belly came in a ball, with a large helping of coleslaw and the crackling a crumble on top. I wasn’t expecting it and that made it all the better!

We added polenta, parmesan and rosemary bread as an accompaniment – served with olive oil and balsamic – super delicious on it’s own or mopping up juices!

Finally we ended up with some dessert because frankly, although we were full we did not want to go yet and the desserts looked pretty good. So we shared a chocolate fondant with poached pear and vanilla cream cheese (the lovely really liked that a lot!) and brioche donuts with quark and apple. I wanted this one mostly to try the quark, which ended up inside the cinnamon donuts – crunchy and doughy and yum! Fondant was as required, runny and deliciously chocolate.

Wily Trout wines live here too, although we didn’t sample any alcohol for lunch. We did enjoy a very cold and bubbly Australian mineral water though!

The grounds are quite lovely and are both casual and sophisticated – Australian tin shed’s but manicured lawns and in between, a bunch of raised vege patches. You can see why it’s a popular wedding venue!

The restaurant has been around for decades now and has plenty of options for big or small groups. I hadn’t been for twenty or more years and to be honest, am far more likely to appreciate the food there now than when I was younger anyway!

Ala Carte menu is only available until 6 January (so check before you book at what’s available).