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.
This post is coming at you a week late because I have some news that has been keeping me pretty busy. Yes that’s right, I got a job!
If you remember my last update, in May I unexpectedly lost my job. I therefore spent most of June rearranging my living room, watching literally all the TV, and working on this website whenever I could. Somehow I also managed to apply for a job and get through the recruitment process. So as of last week, I once again have a paycheck. Yay!
The funny thing about having indefinite time off is that it is really hard to make the most of it. I had great plans to go to yoga everyday, have created enough new content for Eight Forest Lane to last months, really focus on my health and fitness, read heaps, and really just maximise all this free time.
The reality however is that I spent most of my time at home doing a whole lot of nothing and feeling pretty anxious. I think I really needed to spend some time having this break and allowing myself to do nothing, but the reality of not having a job left me anxiously checking my emails every hour hoping to hear back, or making sure my phone was working so I wouldn’t miss a call.
So, yes I did manage to sneak in a few extra yoga sessions which was excellent. And yes I did manage to post a good amount of new content over the last month. But no, I did not suddenly become the wonder woman I thought I would be, if only I had more time.
Now, with 50% of the year done, it’s time to focus on the next 6 months. I do like to take this time to reflect a little on the year and rethink those pesky New Year’s resolutions, because by July, you really have a better understanding of what you need and what’s possible. Plus there is a lot less pressure.
I feel like now is the perfect time to start fresh. But before we look ahead, let’s discuss what else June had to offer.
A Long Weekend in Melbourne
This month saw a short adventure interstate to Melbourne. This visit was planned 12 months ago when I patiently cued in an online waiting room for some of the most anticipated tickets of the year.
Growing up with Harry Potter, I love all of it. So it was no great surprise that I would be paying a small fortune for the opportunity to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in Melbourne’s stunning Princess Theatre.
While I have been to many musicals, this was my first time seeing a play so I was a little unsure of what to expect. And while I did keep expecting people to burst out into song, it was a fantastic experience. It is a show that captures the essence of Harry Potter and weaves a story that cleverly gives you exactly what you would expect but still being surprising. It was a little sad, quite funny, and purely magical at times, and I am so glad I went.
As the play went over two evening shows, we had some free time in the city and really between walking around and eating, the time just melted away.
Before long it was time to pick up our rental car for our great ocean road adventure. I am going to write a blog post about this in depth soon, so I wont go into too much detail, but we spent a beautiful two days seeing some spectacular sites and a part of the country that I hadn’t before experienced.
This month was the Lifeline Bookfest event and so before I started my new job, I ventured into the Convention Centre to take a look at what I could find this year to add to my TBR pile.
Over past years I have only been able to visit on weekends, so it was interesting to visit on a weekday without the crowds. It felt much more calm and there was time and space to slowly peruse the tables, a keen eye scanning for that exciting find.
In the end, I brought home 7 books from the $2.50 section. Realistically I didn’t scrape the surface of looking at what was available, but after a couple of hours my bag was full and I felt content for another year.
Most Popular Blog Post
This month I decided to redo one of my very first posts on my blog from way back in 2015. It had been sitting idle with no one visiting it, so I decided it was time for a fresh post and some updated photos bringing it into 2019. Well, it seems like that was a good idea because you loved these zucchini fritters as much as me, as it was by far the most popular of all posts published in June.
Mushroom Tagliatelle with Olive Oil and Garlic – journey to Rome through this simple weeknight dinner.
Dairy-Free Potato and Leek Soup with Bacon Crumb – a simple twist on a warming winter favourite (pictured below).
The BEST Vegan Banana Bread – for when you need really good, cafe quality banana bread without the eggs or dairy.
Spicy Pork and Peanut Noodles – super easy and full of flavour and comes together faster than you can order takeaway.
What I Read This Month
While this month I didn’t end up reading as many books as I had hoped to catch me back up to being on target to reach 50 total this year, my pile of books to read did grow thanks to Bookfest, so hopefully I will be able to work through those over the coming months.
Of the books I did read this month, they were quite varied in subject and style.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (2012)
This is a book that I had been wanting to read for a while. A year or two ago I read quite a few books with an eccentric main character, and I loved how a story could be weaved around a personality and a quest, which is quite literal in the case of Harold Fry.
Harold is an ordinary fellow, living a mundane existence with his wife Maureen in a small English village. Nothing much ever happens to Harold since he retired, until he receives a letter one morning from Queenie Hennessy, a woman from his past, to say goodbye.
Harold walks out of his home that morning to post his reply to Queenie, but once he gets to the post box he just keeps going. Ultimately he decides to walk to her, across England. Harold’s journey is shaped by the chance encounters he meets along the way and it becomes a journey of discovery not only for him, but for Maureen as well.
I expected this book to be a light-hearted read, and while it contains plenty of humour, it is really a book about healing and I think it addressed that very well.
Dear Lily by Drew Davies (2019)
This book popped up on my Amazon suggested list and with really good reviews I decided to give it a read. Again like with the story of Harold Fry, this is a story about healing through a physical journey of self discovery.
Written as letters from Joy to her sister Lily after she moved to Denmark to escape her life in London, we learn that Joy is running away from some past pain and looking for a fresh start.
It is written in a conversational way that is easy to follow along and get caught up in. I felt the struggle and the pain of Joy was so clearly communicated by the author, and the difficulties that Joy had fitting into a new life where relatable. However, I got a bit stuck on some of the finer details and I think I just failed to connect with some of the key moments that I felt the author wanted to have more impact.
It is a heart-felt story with a few different layers, and while I did enjoy it, I just came away feeling like it could have been a little more.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (2018)
This is one of those books that feels like everyone has been talking about, and realistically without that talk peaking my interest, I probably wouldn’t have chosen to read it on my own. But I am very glad I did because this is an incredible story about an incredible man.
Written as fiction, this is the story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who was on one of the first transports to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau in April 1942. The story that unfolds is a pieced together story as recounted to Morris herself a few years ago when she was introduced to a man who might just have a pretty interesting story to tell. She says it is fiction based on truth as the focus of this book is not on the historical facts, but rather on the story of the individual.
As with many stories from the holocust, this book is confronting and powerful and tells of the true horrors that occurred during WWII. This is a story of survival against all odds, and of determination and perseverance. It is also a story of relationships, many of those without which Lale would not have survived.
An amazing story that I am so grateful was able to be told.
What I Watched This Month
This HBO 5 part miniseries seemed to be the talk of the internet over the last couple of months, and after hearing so much praise I finally watched it. This is a drama based on the true events of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986.
The show recounts the series of events that lead up to the disaster, the response of the Soviets, and the sheer impact and fear when the scale of what they thought was impossible, happened.
This is not a documentary, but the story follows true events and uses true characters making it all the more horrifying that this is actually part of our history.
My only criticism was that the British accents caught me off guard at the start, but I guess that was better than some bad Russian ones.
This show is awful and pretty full on given it’s subject matter, but it is so incredibly well acted and produced. It really is no wonder that everyone is talking about it. If you haven’t already, put this on your must watch list.
What’s coming up?
July for me will be about finding a rhythm with my new job and trying to incorporate some of the balance I enjoyed in my time off.
Therefore I would expect things here on the blog to slow down a little from the previous months as I learn how to navigate this new normal and find time to create without feeling burnt out.
Apart from that, I don’t have too much planned for the rest of the month which is kind of nice.
Over to you, how was your June and do you have any plans for July?