Welcome to Life at Number Eight! My monthly series that lets us recap the month and catch up with everything that has been going on.
Hello hello and welcome to what might be the final LANE post for a while. I started writing these posts exactly two years ago when I was looking for a way to share some extra snippets from my everyday life here on the blog.
When I started these posts, little did I know that they would chronicle my journey through a job loss, the sudden death of a family member, a struggle with anxiety, and finally the transition to full-time remote work as the result of a global pandemic.
So much has happened during this time and I am so glad I have these posts to look back on. But just like two years ago felt like the time to start, now feels like the time to stop and to place my focus on something new.
So, for the last time (probably), let’s catchup on the month that was August.
As we left off last month, QLD and Brisbane in particular were bringing back some restrictions due to a small spike in cases, including the closing of the border to NSW. Well that has continued with another spike. Lucky for me, these cases have all been on the opposite side of Brisbane to me so I feel less worried about going out, however I have gone back to being a lot more cautious. Hopefully these restrictions stop the spread and we won’t see any further action required.
Long Weekend Camping Trip
Every year Brisbane gets a public holiday in August for the Ekka, Brisbane’s version of Sydney’s Royal Easter Show. This year, they moved it from the usual Wednesday to the Friday as the Show was cancelled, to give Brisbane residents a long weekend and encourage them to get out and spend their hard earned dollars in the QLD economy and hopefully help some struggling tourism businesses.
As I mentioned in my last update, we usually go camping at a spot in Northern NSW and as the border closure came so quickly, we didn’t have much opportunity to change our plans. With most places already booked out we ended up with a spot at a private campground on a property about 30 minutes past Gatton.
We didn’t really have high expectations but we didn’t need to. As long as we could sit around a fire and relax away from the world then we were happy!
That’s exactly what this place offered. There was no phone service, and hardly any other people. Just us and the mountains. It was lovely to just sit and rest with that feeling of disconnect from the rest of the world even if just for a couple of days.
Also were treated to some beautifully clear winter skies, perfect for some astrophotography. Having not had the chance to use a lot of my camera gear for quite some time, it was nice to break it out again and I was very happy with the results!
Having my hair done…finally!
I don’t spend a lot of money on self care but the one thing I love to do is get my hair done. This month I finally made it back to the salon for the first time since January! That’s easily the longest I’ve ever gone without dying my hair since I was probably about 16.
I had an appointment around the 20th of March which I cancelled because I was feeling cautious about COVID as that’s when the lockdowns first started. I had expected to just rebook it a few weeks later. What I didn’t expect was that the hairdresser would close down for 5 weeks just a few days later and we wouldn’t be allowed to go.
When I did finally rebook, it was June and just as the date came closer I had to again cancel for family reasons. It was another month before my hairdresser had an availability (she only works 2 days a week and is very popular because she is amazing).
It was all worth the wait though as I now feel so much more like myself.
Making plans, without too much expectation.
I know last month I said we shouldn’t make any plans because things are just too volatile but I couldn’t help myself. There is another long weekend coming up in October in which we have booked a house at the Gold Coast with friends. I am very excited about the opportunity to take a break, have a few drinks, eat some good food and just relax by the ocean. I am also cautious not to get too excited in case further restrictions are enforced and we can’t go.
Following this, I have annual leave booked which was supposed to be our trip to Japan. Instead, we are contemplating road trips and camping and exploring a few places we haven’t been before in our own state.
Keeping our fingers crossed!
Most Popular Blog Post
This month I kept my promise and was able to focus on creating some new content. I don’t know if everyone else was just as cold as I was this month and craving comfort food, but I am excited that my very first pressure cooker recipe was so popular this month! This pressure cooker chicken noodle soup was made in my house on back to back occasions because it’s just so delicious, pretty healthy, and so much easier than a regular chicken soup.
Question, do you have an electric pressure cooker? If so are you keen on seeing more recipes using it? I know a lot of people don’t really know what to do with them but they are such a game changer in the kitchen for me. I’ve been using mine about twice a week for the last 18 months and I love it!
Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes – A vegan version of such a classic flavour, these are exactly what you expect from red velvet both with flavour and texture.
Rainbow Sprinkle Cake – a pretty and fun cake for all occasions!
One Pot Spicy Sausage Pasta – my new favourite pasta dish, coming together in one pot it’s so full of flavour.
Biscoff Baked Doughnuts (pictured below) – have you tried Biscoff spread yet? Whatever your answer, you really need these baked doughnuts in your life.
What I Read This Month
Just the two books for review this month. I am currently half way through another which I am excited to talk about but without this series, I am not sure when that will be. Pretty sure it will be on my best books of the year list for 2020 though!
In the meantime, I am going to continue to share my favourite books via Instagram stories – so check out the Books highlights for all my fave reads.
Also let me know if you’re interested in more book content as I have a few ideas around how to incorporate more book and reading content into the site, but am keen to know if anyone is interested first!
Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms by Anita Heiss (2016)
This month, continuing my education of Indiginous Australian literature, I decided to pick up this historical fiction novel by Anita Heiss, a proud member of the wiradjuri nation.
I really enjoyed reading this story and found so many parts of it spark my interest. For example, the setting is in the NSW town of Cowra towards the end of WWII. The setting is based on the real POW camp that was located in Cowra which held mostly Japanese soldiers who were captured in PNG. In 1944 about 1000 Japanese soldiers staged a mass breakout of the facility. It is on this day that Heiss’s story begins.
While many soldiers are captured, hundreds are killed, and others take their own lives for fear of humiliation from their country, Hiroshi manages to hide.
Close by to the camp is Erambie Aboriginal mission, which is where Hiroshi finds refuge with Banjo Williams and his family who are sick and tired of seeing people unnecessarily suffer.
What happens next is the weaving of Japanese and Aboriginal culture and the understanding of how different countries value cultural beliefs. It is a really interesting look at the treatment of Aboriginal people during this time, with direct comparisons between the camp and the mission with regards to living conditions and availability of food.
Among the conversations about cultural understanding is also a beautiful love story that transcends race and focuses on sharing beliefs and mutual respect and acceptance.
Overall this is a very detailed story that is full of important conversations but leaves you eager to find out just what happens to Hiroshi in the end.
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (2018)
There are five Dunbar boys, a bird, a fish, a cat, and a stubborn mule, all living in the one house. Their mother has died and their father has disappeared leaving them to navigate through their own lives in the only way they could.
Expecting nothing less from Zusak, the story starts at the end and then goes through the events that had led to this moment of the story being told. It is narrated by the eldest brother Matthew but as the title suggests is really about the journey of the middle brother Clay.
This book is stunning. Zusak’s prose is beautifully constructed, reading poetically across each page. He leaves the most important parts of the story unsaid, preferring the reader to find them between the lines.
The story has a strong focus on death, loss and pain, but I didn’t necessarily find it to be a sad book. It was a story about understanding and of acceptance and about how things came to be, and what shapes the people that we become and the impact that has on the next generation.
Overall, I was glad it was a long book because I just wanted to keep reading to get to the end that was really the beginning.
What’s coming up?
There are not many plans in place for September so far. Hopefully with the beginning of Spring I’ll be spending more time outside in the sunshine, enjoying it before it all becomes too hot.
I’ll also be here, making the most of my time at home, continuing to focus as much energy as I can spare into this website and hopefully posting some new and exciting recipes that you will love!
A Final Thought
I have loved sharing these posts over the last two years, but I am excited to see what comes next. Who knows, maybe when september ends (oh hello accidental Green Day reference), I’ll have changed my mind again and you’ll see a classic case of the flip flop.
And maybe it’s because of this pandemic shaking up our daily lives, or maybe it’s simply that I am continuing to grow and change as a person, but I do feel like I am coming to a shift with Eight Forest Lane. I don’t really know what that means yet, but I am leaning into the feeling and letting my intuition guide me this time.
So I hope you’ll stick around, and maybe share the site with your friends, and let’s see what happens!