Tag Archives: perth

Our House Update: The Facelift

In the first part of last year, our house looked a little something like this. A typical-for-the-area Victorian terrace with some rather delightful pebble dash.

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A house, a home, a splendid and terrifying money pit.

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Never enjoyed a bit of new wall more.

In fact before these photo the front wall was also very cracked and split. As we inched closer to our wedding, we decided to go on a bit of a reno spree and try and spruce the place up for our guests.

Neither Mr Hello nor I had been particular fans of the pebble dash, and briefly flirted with the idea of having it all taken off to expose the brick.  We swiftly decided against it in the end not just because of the cost, which we we might have borne had this been our ‘forever’ home, but also because pebble dash was often applied in past for a reason, covering a multitude of brickwork sins which I am and remain quite happily oblivious to, having got a whiff of them when our wall was re-rendered. Rendering the lot was also out because of the cost, and we were both quite happy with the aesthetics of other painted pebble dash houses in our area. So painting it was!

My time in Australia was quite useful for research purposes – quite strangely when you think about it, considering there aren’t exactly a multitude of Victorian houses in Perth. Although my family’s area is an older, established suburb so perhaps it’s not quite so odd. I often walked past this house and surreptitiously snapped this iPhone shot one evening:

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Quite the traditional look for an Australian house, but the colours were creamy, bright and inviting.

I also spotted this terrace while on a quick jaunt to Sydney:

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Not a great shot, granted, but what’s a girl to do when she’s trying out her incognito photography skills? The common denominator with both is a darker base colour with light highlights, something that I thought would work really well with our house.

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In the end we went for kind of a mixture of the two colours, a standard masonry paint from Wickes called ‘Sandstone’, a colour I would really describe as ‘greige’, most accurately shown in the middle photo above. Our highlight colour was ‘Buttermilk’ from the same range.

I can’t pretend that this was as a result of hours of research, I simply had the colours I wanted more or less in my head, and we have a Wickes quite close by to us and that was that. We did get the feedback that the Buttermilk was a bit of a pig to paint with, as it was quite thin and took several coats. However, it definitely came up trumps and I am so pleased with the final outcome.  I am particularly happy with my decision to have the guttering painted, it doesn’t seem to be a common thing to do, but I really feel it brightened the overall look of the house and made it feel really fresh.

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In the months since we’ve had the house painted, it has all held up extremely well. We have, however, noticed very fine cracks in the paint appearing between the pebbles, but this seems to be a result of the paint shrinking as it dries, exacerbated by the fact that there is no paint beneath it. If we need to tidy up the paint in a few years I doubt this would reoccur, and it’s not something that bothers me.

I genuinely still get a thrill each time I come home and realise how smart our house looks, particularly since we tarted up our front door. I’ll talk more about that in the coming days, and update you more about the work we’re planning to do.

Until then, pals, adieu!

This Week I Was Grateful For #1

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Coffee. This specific coffee actually (although technically it was consumed last Sunday), as it was shared with my sister at Gordon St Garage in Perth. We were waiting for our Mum to arrive for our breakfast date, and when she did we had some tasty food (poached egg on some kind of amazing potato hash), chatted then did a little shopping at the outlet across the road. Quite satisfactory indeed.

I’m grateful for the coffee because it meant I got to spend time with women whom I love dearly but don’t see very often. We all live in different cities, which isn’t such a huge issue if we lived in say, England, but in Australia, another state is 3 hours and at least $400 away.

I read a quote once when I was working in a job with a manager in a remote office, but I think it is very apt for long distance families too:

Distance is about relationships, not geography

So I think it’s important to make the most of these coffees together when I have the chance.

The End of Twenny Fourteen

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I love him.

John Michele Sam Matilda Bay

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My Mum, Me, Mr H and my sister. My Dad was also there, but I have my eyes spectacularly shut in the photo with him, so Papa, I’m afraid you miss out.

 

If you’ve snuck a peek at my Instagram account over the last week or two you may have noticed that a *rather* special chap has made a reappearance in my life. That’s right folks, I’ve just had two quite fabulous weeks here in Perth with none other than Mr Hello himself. Our year of the dreaded LDR was ended at disgusting-o’clock on the 18th of December.

We’ve spent two weeks gazing longingly into each others’ eyes and being unrepentantly loved up, celebrating his first ever Australian Christmas (the heat, OH THE HEAT), and more importantly, spending some quality time at the beach. It’s been delightful, truth be told. We even managed to have a relaxed engagement party last night at Matilda Bay.

I’m due to head back to the UK in three weeks, and so now that Mr H has made his way back to the cold before me, it’s time to knuckle down and get to packing (how I loathe the word). I’m excited to return, but also experiencing a strange kind of emotion…almost as if….I might….miss living in Australia? It’s absurd, really, considering the fact that I have more or less spent this year wishing I was back at home in Kent, but now the time is very nearly upon me I find myself rather reluctant to leave. The heat I can take or leave, and yes I am well aware of what a terrible Australian that makes me :), but it’s really the people here that I will miss dreadfully. Which is exactly what I said about leaving Rochester all those months ago. I guess the heart and head get used to living wherever they find themselves to be.

It’s been a wonderful Christmas. It’s been an amazing 2014. Here’s to more of the same and better next year.

My Weekend Has Been Spent #6

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Sydney Townhouse

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  • Technically starting the weekend on Wednesday morning, when I hopped on a plane at an ungodly hour and flew to Melbourne.
  • Being greeted by my Mum at the airport
  • Seeing my Mum’s new fancy house – they’ve just bought it and it’s magazine worthy. Think modern with a Scandinavian mid century twist. Yeah. That’s good, isn’t it?
  • Scraping a couple of hours’ kip in Mum’s spare bedroom. Ugh. There’s a difference between early starts and early starts.
  • Trying not to get carsick on the way to the airport
  • Boarding a teeny tiny plane to Sydney.
  • Reaffirming my feelings that flying is not scary for me, just incredibly dull.
  • Landing in Sydney and heading to my friend’s work to drop off my suitcase
  • Realising that Sydney was ridiculously humid. Oh my god, was definitely not expecting that after the mildness in Melbourne.
  • Realising that hair products do actually work. Normally my hair would end up like Marge Simpson’s at the tiniest whiff of humidity, but it stayed perfect until I got drenched later in the day.
  • Having pizza and wine time with a dear friend that I haven’t seen for ages. (Love you K!)
  • Waking up and wandering into central Sydney.
  • Spending a couple of hours in David Jones, my favourite department store in the world. It’s like an Australian version on John Lewis, and believe it or not they do the best sushi I have ever tasted. It’s slightly better in the Perth store though!
  • Realising that a lot of Sydney is modelled on an English style of architecture. Think terraced housing, the Museum station above and big Selfridges style department stores. It was quite comforting in a way.
  • Heading the Museum of Contemporary Art. I was a little bit…underwhelmed I have to say, which is a real shame. One thing I adored though was a digital installation called The One Hour Laugh, which was simply a video of four women in somewhat ridiculous get up, trying to make each other laugh. I found myself grinning like a loon and giggling along with them. Very cheering.
  • Despairing of the fact that coffee is cheaper in Sydney than it is in Perth. :-/
  • Wandering around the Docklands, and catching views of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Heading inside the Opera House, but just missing out on a tour.
  • Catching a view of a statue I have hereby named Mr Tumnus in Hyde Park.
  • Popping back to Surry Hills to see Belvoir St Theatre’s charming show A Christmas Carol. 5 Stars, would recommend. It was the most delightful reimagining of the story. Let me tell you, I get LOADS of Dickens in England where I live, which I rarely enjoy, but this was something truly heartwarming.
  • Catching some zzz’s back at my friend’s house.
  • At last completing my Sydney mission – putting in my application for my first ever Polish Passport at the Consulate. This is the only place in Australia where you can do it, which is a bit annoying for us west-siders! I was expecting it to be difficult, but the assistant was totally lovely and helped me out when my non-existent Polish became an issue!
  • Flying back to Melbourne to spend the actual  weekend with my Mum’s family. There was a German Shepherd mask involved, but I don’t think I could explain that even if I tried.
  • Catching another plane back to ol’ Perth.
  • Praising everyone who could possibly be praised for the fact I could lie down in my own bed.

 

I was incredibly lucky to have left Sydney before the terrible events in the Lindt cafe unfolded. It was a tragic event and my heart goes out to all those touched by the cruel actions of a deluded man. 

My Weekend Has Been Spent #5

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  • Putting on a full face of makeup for the first time in what feels like forever
  • Mixing my two beloved Revlon Colorburst Matte Lip Balms together to make the most perfect coral lip colour. Deeeelightful. I used 245 Audacious and 210 Unapologetic, or as the French translation goes Sans Remorse. Guess which one I prefer?
  • Getting dressed in my new yellow Karen Walker dress
  • Carrying all of my belongings to my Aunt’s house, and getting more and more enraged at myself, for having so deciding to bring so many things; the weather, for raining on my blow dried hair; every other person on the bus, who somehow could not wait for me to out my 100,000 bags down before them, and just barged past me struggling away. IT’S TIME TO GET A CAR SAM
  • Partaking in a delicious High Tea at Rochelle Adonis in Highgate, with the women in my Mum’s side of the family for the civilised version of my Hen do. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and I really enjoyed the whole ceremony of it. The service was faultless and attentive. Having said that, it’s the kind of thing that I don’t ever need to do again. That’s no reflection on the quality of food, service or my company, it just transpires that perhaps High Tea is not really my thing.
  • Going outfit shopping with my decidedly hipster Mother. She’s looking for her Mother-of-the-Bride outfit, and we had a bit of a laugh when we saw what Mother-of-The-Bride dresses actually look like most of the time. The dress actually isn’t that horrible, it’s just definitely not my Mum’s style. Definitely not. It is actually really hard to find cool and yet wedding appropriate dresses or suits for arty people. If you have any tips, please send them my way!
  • Heading out for a drink and a chin wag with my Mum. She lives Over East, and so even though I’ve been in Australia all year, I’ve only seen her three times! You miss out on a lot of the day to day stuff in life when you’re so far apart.
  • Meeting up with my aunt and uncle and a couple of their friends for dinner at The Old Swan Brewery. We had a great meal, and they’re really familiar with the restaurant, so all was just splendid until a waitress spilt a glass of champagne down the back of my aunty…..oops. Did not go down particularly well.
  • Trying to fit 6 people in a 4 person taxi. It doesn’t work, and you may well find a 60 year old woman sitting on your lap before they get turfed out by the sensible taxi driver
  • Waking up with a teeny tiny hangover. Oops
  • Going shopping again with my Mum. No joy on Saturday either looking for wedding outfits. I daresay she’ll find something back home though 🙂
  • Making our way down to Fremantle and having a wander
  • Stopping for lunch at Bread in Common. They do the most amazing bread there, and we had some with dukkha, prawns and asparagus plates, alongside a cheeky glass of rosé.
  • Heading back to my aunt’s house for an LLD (little lie down).
  • Sneaking in a FaceTime with Mr Hello <3
  • Having pizza, wine and chats with my Mum and Aunty. Good quality girl time.
  • Falling asleep having drunk a tiny bit too much once again.
  • Waking up to the sounds of a family breakfast being prepared.
  • Trying to be helpful, but being a bit useless and ultimately deciding the most helpful thing was to get out of the damn way.
  • Having a big fry up (hash browns for the win!) with my extended family.
  • Saying goodbye to my Mum, knowing that for the first time in 5 years, I will see her again within a week!
  • Heading home to DETOX. Oh my, all the wines happened this weekend.

 

How was your weekend?

For The Love of Cake

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Time for some totally unrelated snaps and another round up of dubious interest to you all. The scale of this weekend has been quietly epic, and I find myself reeling from the emotional highs and lows, that is, I would if reeling consisted of 90 minutes’ semi-inebriated blog reading.

DOWN:

My father was rushed to hospital earlier in the week and while he appears to be thankfully on the mend, I just about lost my shit thinking terrible thoughts waiting in the emergency department at 6:30am Saturday morning. Parents aren’t supposed to feel pain. They’re supposed to be mercifully invincible, at least I’m pretty sure that’s what it said on the tin. A big DOWNer for this weekend, that’s for sure.

I am one week away from qualifying as a teacher, and whilst in itself this is an UP, I am so enormously fatigued by the whole experience that my enthusiasm for having any career that does not involve laying in bed is at an all time low. This is really a dreary post, I do apologise.

The requisite teenager type whinge: because my Dad has been unwell, I haven’t had the opportunity to drive anywhere as I need someone with a license to accompany me as a condition of my learner’s permit. This is a serious drag, I was just getting the hang of the whole ‘driving’ thing, and I confess I am rather less willing to put up with general public transport goings on. My life is dragging before my eyes.

I have to fly to the other side of the GD country (Sydney) to submit my application for a Polish passport. Quite inconvenient, given the size of Australia, and also quite expensive. A nice little surprise too, don’t you just love it. I wish my agent had mentioned it at some point, you know, in the whole freaking year we’ve been working together.

Mr Hello is STILL IN ENGLAND which is entirely expected, but becoming rather less acceptable every day. For god’s sake if you ever want to have some kind of pleasant life, do NOT for the LOVE OF CAKE get into a long distance relationship. Your perception of everything becomes skewed by constantly looking through god-this-is-boring coloured glasses. Three weeks and three days. Come at me bro.

UP:

3 WEEKS AND THREE DAYS.

ONE WEEK until I have a bonafide career. Soon the whole “gizza job” debacle will commence, but ho, delightfully not a problem for a few more weeks.

I haven’t looked at my bank balance for a few days so let’s pretend I am rich! Huzzah! Cake for everyone.

I went for a drink with A, my mentor teacher on prac and had rather a nice glass o’ wine. It really is pleasant meeting new people and getting to know them. I really enjoyed myself and the show was wonderful. It was Those Who Fall In Love Like Anchors Dropped Upon The Ocean Floor at The Blue Room Theatre in Northbridge. Utterly charming, a lovely and innovative set and delightful performances by all. Definite thumbs up.

Another pleasant thing happened that night, come to think of it. I had been telling A at school that my favourite play of all time is in fact The Crucible by Arthur Miller, and that I’d seen a wonderful production of it at the now-demolished Playhouse Theatre in Perth. I also saw the production starring Richard Armitage at The Old Vic in London earlier this year – production in the round, totally delightful – and lo and behold, A’s friend who was with us was Mary Warren in the Perth production, alongside on of the stars of Those Who Fall in Love! How weird is that? Spooksville if you ask me.

On that note, this is where I leave you. I am not at my finest right now, but if I can eke out the last of my motivation to last this week, I will make it. Time for a cuppa.

In Which I Try to Be a Blogger

There seems to be, in my humble opinion, a certain type of status that comes with being a ‘blogger’. Not a person who writes a blog, but a blogger. I am rather susceptible to a bit of the ol’ green eyed monster every now and then when it comes to other peoples’ blogs, I won’t deny it. But every now and then I brought firmly back to earth, and to the knowledge that when comparing those who have blogs and the ever jealous making bloggers, I am most certainly in the former camp.

Take these series of photographs, for example. Several days ago I thought I would try out a modest photoshoot, to see if I too was capable of having swoon worthy photography gracing the pages of this here weblog.

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Nope. Can’t see my face, too much shrubbery, and plus…that’s a decidedly strange pose you’ve got going there girl.

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Also in the NOPE pile. Firstly, it’s an unflattering angle of a new top I dearly regret impulse buying, and secondly, that stupid look on my face is clearly the results trying to look natural while I fake brushing my hair off my face. 

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Too far.

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Too close. Plus a slightly deer-in-the-headlights-what-have-I-become look about me. Dainty finger pose too.

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This one I admit, is acceptable. I like that my face seems to realise what a ridiculous thing I am trying to do. The top looks slightly better, and I’m doing something rather attractive with my shoulders. I like it. I like my one average photo!

I could say something calming and reflective here about how during this process I realised that I don’t need to strive to replicate other peoples’ blogs, because we’re all different and rah rah rah unique gifts rah rah. But I won’t, because if I am honest, I do wish I had a shiny pretty happy blog. I do wish I knew how to take great photos of my carefully curated life, but I don’t. More to the point I honestly probably wouldn’t, either, even if I had the requisite skills.

I feel very much a part of a huge blogging community, having blogged in some way or another relatively consistently for four years, but more so because I’m a consumer of blogs. Maybe my best role in the blogosphere is to support others who do it  better. To put some love out there for people who plan and publish content more regularly than I. I don’t feel bad about that in the least, and so for now, I’m reminding myself to be pretty content with my one average photo, and my average little blog.

 

Great Strides for Cystic Fibrosis: Race Report

Because I am what is known as a totally very serious runner don’t you know, I thought it would be vital for my loyal blog following to get an in depth report of my longest fun run to date. Jokes aside, what is a personal blog if not a space online where I can reflect on my life? I’m really proud of what I achieved today, and so lucky you, you’re going to hear all about it.

I spent yesterday dithering around and relaxing, which was much needed after an intense week at school rehearsing and then with 2 performance nights for my lovely drama girls. I felt pretty relaxed about the run, but a little bit nervous that I hadn’t managed to get out and train as much as I had liked, partly due to school and partly because of my recovery from shin splints. So I decided to myself that I wasn’t setting too many goals for myself, and was just going to take it as it came, so to speak. In my secret part of the brain – you know, that bit where you lie to yourself – I hoped to do the full 8kms without walking, and in under an hour.

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I got to Perry Lakes Reserve at about 8:15, for a 9:15 start, as they’d cautioned crowds and for some strange reason I really wanted a race T-Shirt! I’d walked there, so used it as an opportunity to get a nice slow warm up. I’d had a niggle in my right ankle on Saturday, and I could feel it again this morning, so wanted to give myself as long as possible to get warm and prevent a further flare up. The walk took longer than I expected, but in spite of that I was ridiculously early and found myself at a loose end after the ordeal of the 30 second encounter of checking my name off and getting my T-Shirt. Glad I listened to their advice about crowds….er….

The crowd did perk up after a bit, and very soon it was time for a group warm up and we headed over to the starting arches, which were weirdly inflated, but resting on the ground. I don’t think they were quite ready for the hordes to descend! In terms of organisation, it would have been great for the MC to spell things out a little better for the racers, by pointing out exactly where the start line was. I managed to get to the right spot by following the crowds, but when you’re psyching yourself up for a run, feeling like you don’t know where you’re going is not the greatest!

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The route was fantastically well marked, however, and this is the time where it can be quite helpful not being the fastest person there – you just follow the pack. There were heaps of helpers dotted around the course as well, armed with high fives and smiles – I never realised how much they actually help! I got a little cheer from the waiting 4km route crowd as I made my way past the half way mark, which was totally invigorating. At the very least, it made me too embarrassed to stop and walk – I just had to keep running!

Get ready for a photo of me looking SPECTACULAR mid-run:

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believe it or not: I was trying to *not* look as bad as I felt

 

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I found the second lap a lot easier, I found my stride and started to enjoy it more. Even though I walked part of the second lap, I used my Run Keeper app updates to keep me on track. I started the race with an average of 6:10 per km, which was great but I knew from the beginning was unsustainable. By the last couple of kilometres my average was up to 7:06 and I really wanted to try and get it down into the 6 minute range again by the end. Alas, not to be, but at 7:03 I’m not too disappointed. I was suffering terribly with blisters on the soles of my feet by then and so just remaining on the trot was a win!

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The best lollipop in the whole world. Much needed.

I really pushed myself for the last 300m, and went from a shuffley jog to a proper run home. This is something I’ve taken from my primary school days – even if you’re at death’s door, you bloody well run it home. Finish strong. I was chuffed to bits to make it under the hour, and it felt great to raise a bit of cash for a worth cause.

Stats:

8km in 56:34

Average pace per km: 7:03 ~ PB!!

Course: Flat route around Perry Lakes Reserve, Nedlands Perth.

Ladies I Like: Sad Jane

Over the last couple of years I spent in the UK, I found myself in a group of friends who were all doing amazing entrepreneurial things with their lives. I got a bit more of an insight into the business side of blogging, as well as what it was like to start up a little bunting company of my own. It definitely gave me a taste of how exciting being self employed can be, and now I bow down to the amazing creatives who do it for themselves.

Back in Australia now, I’ve recently discovered that one such amazing creative is my old uni pal Lisa Henderson of Sad Jane Designs. Sad Jane is an events management company, incorporating styling and a range of hand made homewares and clothing made by Lisa’s fine hand. Starting off by attending markets, earlier this year Lisa took the plunge and opened up a store of her own, in the Bon Marché arcade off Barrack Street, in Perth City. I went and took my first look around on Friday

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It’s pretty cute, hey? I love the sweet, quirky 60’s inspired aesthetic that Lisa’s chosen to be really classic Sad Jane territory. Inside the shop is Lisa’s studio space, so a lot of products are made on site, or customised there with silk screening or embroidery by Lisa herself. Everything is SO reasonably priced as well, which is amazing in a city like Perth, where merely stepping out your front door means you’ve spent $50. Ugh.

So if you’re looking for an amazing one of a kind dress and can’t find it, or a gift for the pal that has everything you could have thought of, please go and see Sad Jane. She’ll sort you out good and proper, and you’ll be supporting an amazing female entrepreneur. What’s not to love?

The deers:
Sad Jane Designs

Shop 12 & 14 Bon marche Arcade

80 Barrack Street

Perth, Western Australia

Varying Shades of Ugh.

Let’s start on a positive note today, shall we? Then perhaps the inevitable decline into the low points of the week won’t be quite so upsetting.

UP:

My family’s application for Polish citizenship is now IN. What excitement. For those of you who are lucky enough to be EU citizens, this is what’s known in Australia as a BIG DEAL. Dual nationality has to be one of the most useful things you can pass on to your children. Oh, to never again have to deal with the UK Home Office! To never again need a visa! I hardly dare imagine it. On a practical note, assuming it goes through without a hitch (one, should never assume, but still, I bloody well am) I will be able to get a job, go home to the FH and get married without a hitch. What a relief.

Several blessed reliefs this week: three more days added to an assignment deadline, and an extra week between the end of my uni classes and the beginning of practicum. Time to prepare – what bliss. Now to see if this will actually be the case. I don’t hold out much hope, but still. You never know.

This week’s shockingly superficial observation: I am in the midst of a rather fantastic hair phase. It’s growing out, partly for the wedding and partly because I am too stingy to go to a hairdresser, and I’m really loving it right now. It just seems to be behaving itself, which is an entirely new experience. Curly hair = dry ratty ends in my experience, but hey ho, I’ll accept smooth hair, if that’s what the universe sees fit to bestow me with right now.

My new ritual of jogging 3 -4 times  per week remains unbroken. Rather unusual, considering my typical laziness.

The weather in Perth is reaching near-bliss levels.

 

DOWN:

No progress to speak of on growing pile of urgent assignments. This must be rectified immediately, but instead the sudden urge to blog has come upon me.

I have totally succumbed to the marketing strategy of Apple. Ugh. But still, YAY SO EXCITING.

The number of weeks until I see the FH is still in the double digits, which I find frustrating in the extreme. Why is it that the weeks until assignments are due miraculously pass without notice, but the weeks until you see someone you love seem to stretch out endlessly? Totally unacceptable.

I’m fortunate enough to not have to work while I study this year, but instead of using that extra time to dedicate to improved assignments, I seem to be perpetually in a state of “ugh”, “meh”, “blergh” and even sometimes “hmm?”. It is most annoying. I’m finding it difficult to be around myself, so I can’t even imagine what it must be like for everyone else.

Soon, my pretties, life simply MUST deliver me the needed kick up the bum, and hopefully by then I will have developed a new outlook!