Monthly Archives: October 2014

Oh hai, Blogging 201

You’re 11 days old and I haven’t done a damn thing yet. This was stressing me out a bit until I realised: my oldest was on school holidays when 101 started. Why do I think I’ll have the time and headspace to blog that much during term, with all the planning and timetabling and micromanaging that entails?

I’m keeping all my emails and taking notes, though. Definitely some thought-provoking ideas in this course so hopefully I’ll make the time to get stuck into it on my own soon. In fact I’m thinking of doing NaBloPoMo next month to force myself back into prioritising writing more. Stay tuned!

Six word Stories of Happy!

To compensate for my current grouchiness, have an extra big dose of happy! ❀ My six word story? Stop taking yourself so seriously, Meg! 😀

LOVE HAPPY NOTES - The Home of Inspiration, Happiness and Fun

Happy thoughts

I thinkHAPPY; therefore I am!

said René Dog-carts. Check him out running above. What a happy puppy!

He’s overjoyed to be alive.

Rinse your mind with merry!

What if adjusted our comprehension, cleansed and deodorised our mind’s filters with a rinse of happy? We can still utilise the lessons necessary for staying alive, but boost them with a dose of thrive, instead of just survive.

I am the boss of me!

We may not have complete control over our circumstances. Sometimes it feels like we can’t even find the vehicle let alone the steering wheel, gears, or brakes. And whose giant foot is that weighing down the accelerator pedal like a boulder avalanche inside a Looney Tunes cartoon?

YOU are the vehicle. You’re the master of your feelings. 

You are a champion, a Firework

words cannot embody what you’re worth

Sending lots of smiles to you! 🙂

writing, prompt

music, guitars, weekly challenge

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Seven lessons learned from the worst garage sale ever

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1. Two days is not enough time to organise a garage sale from scratch – especially with little kids to look after and a husband working over-time as well.

2. We have way too much crap. Like, even more than I previously thought. Seriously,

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so

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Much

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CRAP!

Our yard was full of stuff but it was just the tip of the iceberg.

3. I really think it would take less effort to get used to the idea of giving/throwing stuff away than trying to make any of our money back. We had everything out in our yard for about 6 hours and got rid of maybe one plastic shopping bag’s worth of stuff.

We made $33…

At last I can retire from this life of crime!

4. People don’t enjoy rummaging in full sun at lunchtime.

5. I’m definitely getting better at letting go of things. I dragged out my jewellery box that I’ve barely opened in the last six years and only took a handful of precious things back into the house. It felt pretty good to divest myself of all that sentimental baggage (not that much of it actually sold).

6. I wish I lived somewhere cooler. It’s only the middle of Spring and the heat and humidity yesterday was fucking disgusting (if you’ll excuse my language). Not looking forward to Summer one bit!!

Lastly

7. I need to sit down and refine my current goals even more. I’m finding myself so overwhelmed by everything again after this very disappointing weekend. Time to hit the books for inspiration, break everything down into even smaller, more specific steps and re-jig my priorities in the lead-up to the end of the year.

Ooh yes! Bonus lesson: homemade lemonade is easy and delicious. Will definitely be making more of that this summer!

Am I Insane?

Today I signed up for a local event called The Garage Sale Trail for this Saturday – as in, the day after tomorrow. I’m having a garage sale in less than 48 hours. And it is part of a national event that will reach thousands of people. And I promised a lucky dip of small toys. And a lemonade stand. I’VE NEVER EVEN MADE FRESH LEMONADE BEFORE.

I’m insane, aren’t I…

Feeding the 5000 Comes to the US

How inspiring is this? Once I get my own life in order I hope to get more into a zero-waste lifestyle – and possibly branch out into community activism like this.

The Zero-Waste Chef

This past Saturday, I participated in Feeding the 5000, a campaign that exposes food waste by feeding thousands of people a free, delicious meal prepared with food that would otherwise go to waste. Feeding the 5000 began in Europe in 2009, but Saturday marked its debut in America.

4000 lbs 4,000 pounds of sweet potatoes too large to sell

The event’s name invokes the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with a mere five loaves and two fishes. We had quite a bit more to work with than that. After I arrived at St. Vincent de Paul in Oakland on Friday morning to chop vegetables for Saturday’s event, we volunteers started in on the 4,000* pounds of sweet potatoes pictured above.

big potatoes Big potatoes

Why would these delicious, perfectly edible sweet potatoes have headed to landfill had they not gone into soup? They weretoo large to sell. Grocery stores refuse to take them.

In the US, we waste 40%


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The Tooth of the Matter

Big day today.

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My oldest miss lost her first baby tooth. And I checked my records: it really is her first baby tooth, the very first tooth she ever cut.

I remember when this tooth was a little white line just visible under the skin of her gum. I remember the excitement of watching it grow into a bump and then finally poke a corner through. It made sure it was firmly established before it allowed its partner to come up, and then my girl had that adorable, upside down buck tooth grin for a while before the top front teeth made an appearance.

Now what to do with it? My hoarding instincts whisper to keep it, to keep all of them, for… what, exactly? To have a jar full of teeth to freak everyone out with? Sentimental reasons? I have photos and booties and onesies and locks of hair and hospital wristbands to look back on when I’m feeling nostalgic. Why not add to the collection?

But then again, why add to the collection? Why create more stuff for me to curate? How do I even store or display it? I don’t need these mementos – I have my daughter to trigger all those memories whenever I look at her! Maybe it’s best to let it go now, before it becomes a burden to deal with.

But then again, how to get rid of it? The toilet or bin seem too disrespectful. Maybe plant it under a tree or bush? But then, what if that tree or bush dies (a highly likely scenario given my black thumb when it comes to gardening)? Will that disturb me too much??

It’s all too much. For now I’ll keep it nestled in a container with a ringlet I snipped when she was two. Maybe my head will stop spinning enough to make a decision tomorrow. But then again, maybe it won’t…

More Liebster Love!

So a couple more people nominated me for the Liebster award – Alex at Still Life With Grad Student (who nominated me at pretty much the exact same time I nominated her!) and Hayley at A Stitch to Scratch. Thanks so much, ladies!

I won’t do the full she-bang again, but I’ll answer the questions you posed.

Alex asked ten questions to her ten nominees:

1. Pea-green nail polish, edgy or icky? (Bonus points if you get the reference)

I don’t get your reference so I’ll just waggle my fingers and say “divine decadence!” to make my own slightly related reference instead.

2. Tea or coffee?

Both! Generally coffee in the morning and tea from lunchtime(ish) on, although I’m trying to start the day with green tea now (so it will be tea-coffee-tea through the day).

3. Favourite holiday?

Christmas. We’re not religious in my family but we do love the excuse to get together, eat lots of food, and give thoughtful gifts to loved ones.

4. List three of your hobbies.

Crocheting
Embroidery
Baking healthy treats so I can indulge my sweet tooth more.

5. What’s your favourite genre of music?

I love some music from all genres. That’s the real beauty of music: you can always find something that will exactly suit your mood in that moment.

6. What’s your favourite genre of film?

Sci-Fi. Movies to me are pure escapism so I don’t want to be challenged or asked to care about other people’s drama or relationships. Give me the bang- bang and the zoom-zoom and the pretty space shots and the fantastical creations and technologies!

7. What was your favourite subject in school?

Toss-up between music, drama and maths.

8. Impulse purchasing: Fess up, do you do it?

Hell yes! I’m always happier when I only have enough money for the bare essentials. I just squander away any buffer and feel guilty soon afterwards.

9. What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?

I can’t do ice cream anymore but my favourite gelateria does this amazing vegan, gluten-free peanut brownie sorbet. Drooooool!

10. On a scale of 1 (not at all) to 10 (very, very much), how much of a procrastinator are you?

I think I’m about an 8, but I’ll confirm that right after I check Facebook for a couple of hours…

Hayley’s turn! She asked five questions for her five nominees:

1. What is your favourite thing to drink?

Coffee. If it’s too late in the day for caffeine (or it’s a really hot day) then plain soda water.

2. If you could meet one celebrity or famous person, who would it be?

I’d actually love to hang out with the whole Jolie-Pitt clan for a while. I think we’d really get on.

3. Do you play any instruments?

I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a degree in classical saxophone and formal training on the piano. Have also dabbled with ukulele, clarinet, recorder, double bass and tabla.

4. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where? and why?

I’ve always wanted to go to Finland, probably mostly due to my love of Moomintrolls and the fact that I had a Finnish pen pal as a kid. I find a lot about Scandinavian culture, weather and landscape appealing. It’s so very different from the parts of Australia I know!

5. A pet peeve?

People who drive through the pedestrian crossing behind me and my girls when we’re only part way across the road. Seriously? Wherever you’re going is more important than waiting ten more seconds to ensure you don’t accidentally clip my TWO YEAR OLD with your car??

Thanks again guys! I love both your blogs too. I hope you enjoyed reading my answers here.

Rinse. Repeat.

I’ve been a bit off target since my youngest’s birthday party last Saturday because, quite frankly, I fell off the motivation wagon. I stopped to relax for a moment, then my body decided to do a weird, possibly-mild-stomach-bug unwell thing, then I gave myself permission to let go for a day or two to recover, then that damn black dog came nuzzling about again, and then my ability to keep my head in the game completely fell apart. Again.

I’ve slowly come to accept that this is the reality of living with mental illness. I must be patient and set things up so that I can coast through the ditches with minimal effort or fall-out, so the step back doesn’t completely erase the headway I just made only days before.

I wouldn’t mind so much if it only affected me, but I do feel for my poor girls. My littlest miss is super-resilient and bounces back from disappointment and conflict within moments (although obviously I would prefer to not test this skill too regularly!), but my oldest ticks all the boxes for being a Highly Sensitive Child – a la Elaine Aron – so she really goes to pieces during my worst episodes. We had a SHOCKER of a day on Friday. I hit a point where I just couldn’t filter myself anymore and railed and screamed and let it all fall apart. It totally overwhelmed the poor thing and left me feeling horribly low and guilty.

She has to be my number one priority for the next little while! Her love bucket is more like a sieve at the moment: the more you fill it up the more it bleeds out all over the place…

I can feel myself on the way up out of this slump now though so maybe it’s a good time to assess how my current goals are going:

Health

Food

– Drink more water.

Not going too badly, although I have lapsed a little over the past couple of days. I have an 800ml bottle that I fill each morning and aim to get through it twice over the course of the day. I probably manage that about four days a week at the moment. Will aim for five to seven days now.

– Also cut back on coffee!

…next question.

– Get a loose meal plan going for dinner.

This is going fairly well. I swap days around quite a bit but the general structure definitely helps me think ahead more, which then helps with reducing decision fatigue and food wastage. Will continue to stick with this as is.

– Always eat leftovers for lunch.

So far so good!

Sleep

– No coffee after midday.

…next question.

– Practice mindful breathing and conscious relaxation during stretches before bed.

Not so much. I am doing the stretching (I need it for my back and shoulders) but generally still reading/playing games on my phone at the same time rather than breathing and relaxing. I might separate those activities out and just do the mindful thang once the iPhone is switched off (yes I know they say to keep your smartphone away from bedtime. I’m not ready to do that yet, ok?).

Fitness

– Play vigorously with kids for at least 10min a day bare minimum.

This went well for a while but I’ve slacked off for the last week. Definitely need to turn that around.

– Do simple yoga stretches in bed before sleep and while waiting for toast to pop in the morning.

In bed yes, most nights; morning not so much. I will prioritise this more to help me wake up and shake out the overnight twinges and aches (I have scoliosis. Have I mentioned that yet? Not sure that I have. It’s not operation-worthy or anything but still something I need to be conscious of to avoid chronic pain).

Happiness

– Stop to tune in to my body and head whenever I remember and write things out if necessary.

I got so depressed I didn’t even want to write the last few days. The grump just did not want to improve and fought all efforts to do so! I’m writing this now though so that’s a sign a corner has been turned.

– Start a daily gratitude practice before bed.

I have not done this at all. That changes now.

Finances

Day-to-day

– Track all my expenses for the next few weeks to get a better feel for budgeting.

Did it for a week, then let it slide before the party and never properly recovered. This week for sure!

– List some stuff on local garage sale sites.

Hasn’t happened yet but I at least pulled all the items together yesterday. Will photograph and post them on the sites tomorrow.

Long Term

– Seriously look into freelance writing/editing options.

No action taken.

– Crochet up some small items to sell at the crafty shop down the road.

Done, but nothing sold yet. I need to design more items and diversify (and probably add some bling. People tend to pay more for shiny things, even if they’re technically worth a lot less). The Melbourne Cup is coming up soon so maybe I can whip up a few fascinators to sell.

– Start looking around for self-education options.

No action taken.

Home

Ongoing Maintenance

– Wash dishes at least twice a day and mop kitchen floor at least once a week.

Hit and miss. It’s so easy to get discouraged when that stack builds up next to the sink!

– Do a “once over” dust and vaccuum through the house once a week (ignoring clutter if necessary).

Nope. The place is seriously disgusting at the moment. I hate how bad it gets when I let things slide for a few days.

Culling and Organising

– Aim to set up a kids’ craft/art space in the back room by toddler’s birthday.

Not even close. Our new easel is still firmly ensconced in the living room, now surrounded by an impenetrable wall of clutter. Awesome.

– Keep a box near the front door to fill with donation-worthy stuff and GET RID OF IT WHEN IT IS FULL!

Nope.

– Gather up good donations for the school fair next month.

Partial success. I now need to separate and organise it all – and figure out how to get it all up to the office during school hours (with no access to a car). Possibly a small bag each day til it’s done rather than all in one hit.

Family Life

Parenting

– More roughhousing (as covered in fitness goals) PLUS:
At least 10min a day playing pretend
At least one book each day
At least one sensory activity each day.

…next question.

– Work harder on yelling less. Sing in hammy opera; beat my chest; do some star jumps; go scream in a pillow; put on ridiculously happy music; ANYTHING to redirect my irritation and frustration in the moment rather than scaring my kids with it.

…………..next question… 😩

General Organising

– Toddler’s birthday; prepping for return to school; helping my oldest make up a scrapbook of art.

All this stuff went well, apart from clearing up 5yo’s desk (which is currently blocked by the easel and its wall of clutter). New general organising goals:

– Weed and tidy up the backyard as the first step to prep for my Big Miss’s impending 6th birthday party.

– Set up art and craft space in the back room BY THE END OF THIS WEEK.

– Dig the cross trainer out of the clutter in the front room (Hubby and I are going to start motivating each other to do interval training in the mornings, to try to shift our creeping tummy pudge. That’s the plan, anyway. We’re both as bad as each other at prioritising this sort of thing so the chances of success are pretty shaky…).

So overall there have been some successes and some failures. I’ll just keep chipping away at this stuff for now and aim for a better success:failure ratio by this time next week.

Finally, three things I’m grateful for today:

1. I managed to stop myself from getting testy while my oldest squirmed around and fought going to sleep this evening, and instead patiently talked her through some calming visualisations and stroked her back until she drifted off.

2. Hubby took the girls out to a local play centre for a few hours this afternoon. They got some great bonding time and I was able to devote a solid block of undivided attention to meticulously cleaning one area of the kitchen. PLUS I was able to sing at the top of my lungs for a while without comments or interruptions. That felt good!

3. I feel like writing and getting all motivated and productive again. Almost completely out of the current ditch and seeing a lot of light for the next little while. Aw yeah…

Bonus: I’m grateful you read all the way to the end. *mwah*

*happy shiver*

Such a glorious thunderstorm here in Sydney tonight. It’s even snowing in the Blue Mountains! (Yes we do get snow in Australia sometimes!) I adore wild weather like this. Makes me want to run around in the puddles and howl at the sky. But it also makes me want to curl up with a blanket and a book. Or a crochet hook. Or a lovely blank page in my journal. And definitely a cup of tea too.

Instead I’ll lie in bed, listening to the downpour pummelling the roof and the wind rattling the windows, and watching the flashes of lightning play across my curtains, happily shivering and feeling alive!

Something tells me sleep will be hard to come by tonight…

Update: Check out the live coverage at Sydney Morning Herald! Much as I’m enjoying it from my cozy bed, I hope everyone is staying safe out there.

The One Lovely Liebster Blog Award

I’m waaay behind the ball on this, but I (not so) recently got nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Terri at Write Out Of the Darkness and Angela at Oxygen4theJourney.

BUT then, I also got nominated for the Liebster Award by Martie at Is That a Hair in My Biscuit.

So I’m doing an award mash-up. It’s a monster of a post but was HEAPS of fun to write. I’m sure everyone has award-fatigue by now but hopefully this will still be enjoyable to read too.

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The One Lovely Blog Award nominations are chosen by fellow bloggers for those newer and up-and-coming bloggers. The goal is to help give recognition and also to help the new blogger to reach more viewers. It also recognizes blogs that are considered to be “lovely” by the fellow bloggers who choose them. This award recognizes bloggers who share their story or thoughts in a beautiful manner to connect with viewers and followers. In order to “accept” the award the nominated blogger must follow several guidelines:

– Thank the person who nominated you for the award. (Thanks Terri and Angela! You guys rock.)

– Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.

– Share 7 facts or things about yourself

– Nominate 15 bloggers you admire and inform the nominees by commenting on their blog.

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The rules for the Liebster Award are:

– Post the award on your blog.

– Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog. (Thanks Martie! You rock also.)

– Write 11 random facts about yourself.

– Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers.

– Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 11 questions.

OK, One Lovely Blog asks for 7 facts, whereas the Liebster Award asks for 11, so I’m going to split the difference and give you 9:

9 facts about Meg:

– My first pregnancy left me with a gluten sensitivity; my second pregnancy left me with a sensitivity to dairy. Before this happened I was also vegetarian for about eleven years but I couldn’t cope with all the restrictions so have reintroduced some meat (for now…) to make things simpler. I’ve never been formally diagnosed but know from much experimentation with myself over several years that “cheating” on gluten and dairy just isn’t worth it anymore (I won’t go into the gory details. Let’s just say, if you’re experiencing chronic, painful butt issues, try cutting out gluten for a few days and see how you go…).

– I have a bachelor degree on the saxophone and have formal training in singing and piano as well. I’ve also tinkered with clarinet, ukulele, double bass, recorder, electronic music, and tabla, and have taught music theory at university level. I’ve never been obsessed enough to get ridiculously good at one instrument so figured I’d work at being ok at playing a range of them instead.

– I used to be a full-on Goth and DJ’d at clubs and everything. In my heart I still am (that opening guitar riff to Happy House by Siouxsie and the Banshees never fails to bring a smile to my face) but I don’t really feel comfortable in all that lace and PVC and makeup anymore. I’ll still get dressed up for special occasions, but keep it subdued so I don’t give off that whole “mutton dressed as lamb” vibe.

– I adore handmade lace so taught myself how to tat, crochet and make bobbin lace from books. Only the crochet has stuck, although I still get the urge to tat every now and then.

– Back in ninth grade we had to do fitness tests in PE where we performed some activities, recorded our results, then compared them to a chart to see where our strengths and weaknesses were. I was away doing band stuff for most of them but was back in time for the 100m sprint and 1.4km run. For both of them, my times were so slow, they weren’t even on the chart. Not gonna lie, that was my proudest achievement in PE ever.

– I like to unwind doing pen and paper puzzles. Word-wise I’m a fan of cryptic crosswords, but I prefer number puzzles like pixel puzzles, Slitherlink, and other maze-type ones that rely on deduction and cross-referencing in a grid.

– I make a really mean soup. Like, I’m seriously good at it. Throw me ANY ingredients and I can make a beautiful soup out of them. Here’s one I made last week:

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It was even more delicious and hearty than it looks.

– Claims to fame: I was an extra in Babe 2 and The Matrix 3. I also was a go-go dancer for The B52s once (best night of my life!).

– I’m choosing to blog (relatively) anonymously so I can a) feel free to be honest without fear of hurting anyone’s feelings, and b) protect my kids from scrutiny. That’s why I won’t include photos of my kids’ faces or other family members. That being said, if you knew me in real life it wouldn’t be hard to draw the connection!

Martie’s questions for the Liebster Award:

1. What color is your hair? Tell the truth, now. – Dirty blonde. I used to bleach it white blonde and dye it all sorts of bright colours (blue was my favourite) but I just don’t have the time or inclination these days.

2. What kind of car do you drive? – I don’t drive! I moved to the inner west of Sydney at 16 and just never got around to getting a license. Starting to feel the lack of it now so hopefully we can find the time (and money!) for driving lessons soon.

3. What is your favorite kind of gum? – Sugar-free spearmint.

4. Where were you when you had your first kiss? – At a party playing spin the bottle. I had a massive crush on the boy in question but he was an AWFUL kisser. I was so conflicted.

5. Do you wear glasses or contacts? – Nope. *knocks on wood*

6. How many siblings do you have? – Two – one brother, one sister. Both are older than me (youngest children represent!)

7. Where did you go on your last vacation? – The Gold Coast, for an Aunt’s 60th birthday.

8. Where are you going on your next vacation? – My parent’s place, out near Orange. We really have no financial buffer so only ever go places where we can stay with family.

9. What was your worst job ever? – Doing market research over the phone. Totally soul-crushing. ALWAYS be nice to telephone marketers! Chances are they hate calling you as much as you hate being called…

10. Have you ever had a bad haircut? Explain! – Of course! When I was a wee gothling in the late 90s I rocked a short, black pixie cut with extra-long fringe, that was half black and half bleached white. I thought it was the coolest thing ever but lacked the knowledge to style it well, so looking back at photos I’m all like “What was I thinking?!”

11. Where is your favorite place to write? – Since I got an iPhone – anywhere! If I wait until I get to a “perfect” place to write I never get anything down. My phone is always on me, so I’ll whip it out and open up the Notes app whenever I want (mostly when I’m breastfeeding and/or sitting in a dim room waiting for little ones to be fast asleep). If I feel the need to physically write I will curl up in the rocking chair with paper and pen in the middle of the night, when it’s cosy and quiet and I can be totally alone with my thoughts.

My questions to my nominees:

1. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
2. Do you have pets? Why/Why not?
3. What’s your biggest regret in life so far?
4. What is your proudest achievement?
5. What’s your signature dish?
6. What is your strangest talent/hobby?
7. If you could have any super power, what would you pick, and why?
8. Where do you picture yourself in twenty years’ time?
9. What are you reading at the moment?
10. If you sat with your own brain, how would you picture it? Cheeky monkey? Child? Well-oiled machine? Spacious, light-filled room? Something else?
11. Do you enjoy receiving this attention or are you currently cursing my name?

And finally, here are my nominees!

I’ve split the difference between both awards and gone with 13 here. You guys can choose whichever award you want if you feel like participating (or even just answer my questions or whatever). Some of you probably already have heaps of followers, or have already been nominated for one or both of these awards multiple times so don’t feel obligated to do it again. I just think you’re great and deserve as much exposure as you can get:

Kyaru (and bunnies) – Spunky chick in the Philippines who was the first person to comment on my blog. I love her observations on things.

Still Life With Grad Student – Ramblings of an Austrian English student that hit the nail on the head for me.

Fit Loose Health – Not a new blog, but I’m including them here because they have the best health tips and recipes on the ‘net. For real. I’m not even slightly exaggerating.

Perspectives on… – Terri is an absolute sweetheart who leaves the nicest comments and is really encouraging all the time. Plus she has great perspectives on… everything!

The Rabbit Hole – She blogs about depression so perfectly. A definite must-read for anyone affected by that black dog.

april4june6: A journal of self-transformation – She explores similar issues to me and I love the format of writing a letter to the day.

Natso’s not so personal blog – Fellow Cracked fan and recently became a father (and announced it in a really cool way).

Running Away to Booktopia – For the love of books. And knitting. And other random stuff.

All Sorted Out – A great, local decluttering service that I wish I could justify spending the money on. I’ll just settle on being inspired by their blog.

Wrinkles and Dust – I particularly LOVE this post where she personifies her depression and analyses it.

The Creatory – This is the blog for the craft shop that I’ve just started selling crochet goodies through. They are passionate about all things crafty and just all round awesome people.

Freshfield Grove – Farmer Fi’s thoughts and adventures while establishing her new olive farm in Tasmania.

A Momma’s View – Expat from Switzerland living in Australia and blogging about parenting and stuff.

Anybody else want to do this? There are HEAPS of other people I follow and who follow me who are worthy of awards – it’s just taken me aaaaages to sift out these guys (apparently if I only follow you in my reader in the iPhone app you won’t show up in the “Blogs I Follow” menu on my dashboard… D’oh!) and I want to post this already! If you’re feeling left out just let me know and I’ll tack you on. 😉

Special mention also goes to Dusty, who always leaves me THE NICEST comments and makes me grin – but I’m not sure she would like me linking to her ever-changing blog so I’ll just name-drop here so she knows I appreciate her. ❀

PHEW!