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.
And just like that we are already halfway through what has to be said to be one of the strangest and possibly most significant years of our lifetimes. The last few months have been unlike anything we could have imagined but yet I think this time has taught us so much that we will carry through our lives for many more years to come.
I am currently feeling so grateful to live in Brisbane, a city and state that has taken this virus seriously and as such we are starting to see a return to some resemblance of normality as we enter into stage 3 restrictions in early July. This also means that the borders will open to NSW and we can finally head down the coast and visit both my mum and the beach – something that I have been very much looking forward to!
Conversations About Race
Before we look too far into the future, I want to take a moment to reflect on where this month started and the conversations that have begun about race and privilege and the call out that it is no longer enough to simply not be racist, we must be anti-racist. As I mentioned last month, I wanted to think about this issue and what it means to me, and what action is most aligned with my values rather than being reactive. This is something that for me will be ongoing but in the month of June I’ve started by doing the following small things:
- Adding an acknowledgement of country in my website footer.
- Acknowledge that while I read a lot of diverse books, not many Indigenous voices are included, so I challenge myself to change that in order to expand my understanding of Australia through the experience of others.
- Engage in conversations with friends and question when ideas spoken myself or others are coming from a place of white privilege.
You may have noticed that towards the end of June ads started to appear on my site. This is often a contentious issue as no one likes ads bothering them when they are browsing the internet, but also we are in a society that often expects it. I’ve made the decision to try because the money potential that I can earn through this will help cover the growing costs of this website.
Just to keep this website live on the internet so that more and more people can access my recipes each month, it costs me money. Also because this website relies on photos to tell the story, I also have costs for my photo editing software and cloud storage that again are charged each month.
Hopefully the advertising revenue will not only cover these essential costs, but will also help me afford ‘non-essential’ things like new cake pans and baking supplies, as well as ingredients themselves so that I can continue making new and exciting recipes to share!
And finally, something that has always been important to me is the social conscious side of earning money, so I also will be donating a percentage of what I earn each month. I don’t get my first payment for a few months, but I’ll be sure to report in these updates what charity I decide to support.
Travel In 2020
Back in my January update I announced that I had FINALLY booked an overseas trip for later this year. Well this month that officially has been cancelled. I am incredibly disappointed that I won’t be visiting Japan as planned but also understand that this situation is completely out of my control and I don’t think I would have felt comfortable travelling after the last few months anyway. We have been given credit for the flights so hopefully we can use that to book an Australian holiday instead.
There is going to be a lot more local travel on the cards now that most states are able to move around again. This month I ventured outdoors for a drive to Buderim to visit this cute mountain town above the Sunshine Coast and go for a walk through the forest to the spectacular Serenity Falls. I have wanted to visit here for a long time so it was wonderful to finally get there and to also get some fresh air and exercise!
Health and Wellbeing
This month I also hit a massive personal milestone. I completed 100 straight days of yoga. This was never my intention when I started but through this extra time at home I have begun to love my daily yoga routine and it feels amazing. I can’t believe how much I have learnt through YouTube and the change that I’ve seen in my body purely through consistent practise.
Also continuing with my exploration of skincare, June marks the month that I bought my first official anti aging cream! This felt like a really big deal, but basically I wanted a night cream that was going to help bring some life to my skin and Sukin was on a 50% off sale at Coles this month. I don’t actually have any real aging concerns but I do remember reading that you should start using it before you see things you want to fix, so I am just going with that for now. So far it has made my skin feel great so i’m considering it a win.
Most Popular Blog Post
This month it’s hard for me to call out the most popular post published this month. This is because I republished one of the most popular recipes on my site EVER so obviously it is going to take the glory. I updated the recipe to be clearer, took new photos and made sure the content had what you needed so I guess this vegan sticky date pudding deserves to be called out again. The other benefit was that it had been so long since I made this recipe myself, I had actually forgotten just how good it was so I very happily enjoyed eating it for dessert that week!
Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding – a classic recipe from my childhood that still gets made frequently in my kitchen finally has a place on the website.
Cottage Pie – perfect comfort food for a cool and rainy day.
Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies – (pictured below) think banana bread but in cookie form with chocolate!
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (Dairy-Free) – fresh, zesty with that signature crunch, these are one of my favourite easy muffins.
What I Read This Month
This month was a mixed bag in terms of reading. I had a memoir I didn’t really enjoy, an anthology of modern poetry, and an exploration of Australian history.
As I mentioned earlier, I have come to realise that while I know that I read a diverse range of books and authors from different backgrounds, I have a gap when it comes to Indigenous Australian authors. This was not by choice by any means, but I realised that it is important to my own understanding of my country to read stories from people who have experienced it differently to me so I need to choose to change this.
And because I love a challenge, I am going to set myself the goal of reading 1 book per month for the rest of this year written by an Indigenous author. I have already found a list of a few that I am excited to get into that are a mix of fiction and non-fiction.
And finally, I have created a highlight story on my Instagram page that I will be adding my all time favourite books to over the next few months and then continue to add to it when I read something amazing. So if you are following along over there, you’ll be able to easily find some reading inspo!
This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (2017)
This one of those books that you decide to read because it feels like everyone else has and it has such good reviews that curiosity more than anything takes hold. Unfortunately for me, it is also one of those books that doesn’t quite live up to the hype.
The book is composed of diary entries from Kay’s time as a junior doctor in the UK. It is a fragmented account of the medical system and what it’s really like to be a doctor, from the patients, to the impact on your personal life.
What I didn’t know before I picked this book up was that Kay’s specialty was in Obstetrics and Gynecology and therefore contained some pretty graphic descriptions of the whole childbirth process. If you are thinking about becoming pregnant or are pregnant, probably don’t read this book. I’m still not quite over some of it.
Overall the book wasn’t bad, but I just struggled to be fully immersed in it and it felt like a chore to read at times. The ending was not what I was prepared for and while this book hides behind humour it actually contains a really important message about the welfare of medical workers. I just wish there was a bit more consistency throughout the book.
Bloom by Beau Taplin (2018)
This month I finally got back to picking up some poetry and this collection looked beautiful. I really enjoy reading short verses of poetry intermittently and I think this collection is perfect for those snippets of insight into emotion.
The prose itself is quite plain for lack of a better word, but the insight and the questions he is able to create through the language is quite moving. He provides a window into self-reflection, love, loss and a full spectrum of emotion.
Overall I enjoyed it as a break from my usual reading and think that this is the kind of book that lives on your shelf to be returned to at the moment when you are looking for connection.
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe (2018)
I first properly heard of this book earlier in the year during the bush fires as there is a chapter on Aboriginal fire management that was referenced quite heavily. This perspective on Indigenous history is one that hasn’t been explored in mainstream Australia and I was interested to learn more.
The goal of this book is to argue that teachings of Indigenous history in Australia have painted the Aboriginal people are ‘mere hunter-gatherers’, and through the pages of this book Pascoe argues that maybe that isn’t actually the case. He uses references from early settlers’ diaries to analyse their descriptions of complex systems of agriculture, food storage, trading and community presenting a viewpoint that prior to European settlement, there was a functioning society here already.
He also asks some very interesting questions around why we have been reluctant to explore this possibility, stating that the taking of the land was seen as more just if the Aboriginal people were nomadic rather than having permanent villages. He also asks questions of why we must use European markers of civilisation to draw conclusions about the way Aboriginal people lived and interacted.
Overall, this book did completely change my perspective of how we perceive our history. I am conscious to consider this exploration when thinking about why we have such difficulty as a country acknowledging the past.
If you are interested in an Indigenous perspective of colonisation and the connection of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the land and the country, then I think this book is a really good place to start.
What I Watched This Month
Love Life (2020)
When I saw Anna Kendrick had a new show, I knew that I was going to watch it. This show is an exploration of love and heartbreak and finding your person. It’s completely bingable and really sweet. Perfect for a Sunday in front of the TV.
Queer Eye Season 5 (2020)
Oh it’s an exciting time for my TV habit when a new series of Queer Eye drops, and I start saying things like elevated and toned-down quite regularly (thanks Tan). But also during this season I was really happy to think back at season one and how far the show has evolved from just being a makeover show to being one that really explores human experiences in all forms. I already want another season.
What I Ate This Month
I wanted to share a couple of recipes that I’ve tried out this month (that are not my own) and absolutely loved! Hopefully this helps give you a bit of dinner inspo as well!
What’s coming up?
Hopefully July is spent a little more outside the constraints of my home. I now officially don’t have a physical office, so I will be remote working for the foreseeable future. This is something that I am really happy about, but also the last couple of weeks have made me realise that I do still need to be conscious of not losing control of the balance between home and work.
It will be interesting to see how we progress into this next phase.
Until next month,