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, another month is over! March for me signified the end of summer with my calendar starting to get full here on out and FINALLY the last few days have brought some cool breezes.
Also, I think maybe it’s only in Queensland that our social calendars get busier in the cooler months rather than in summer as we can once again go outside without the harshness of the sun literally burning, but rather the beautiful warmth of the winter sun. It really is the best time to visit this state in my opinion.
Overall March was a quieter month for me, both on the blog, and IRL. Let’s get into the highlights.
March, The Month of Birthdays
March is better known in my world as the Birthday month.
It all started with a trip down to the Gold Coast for lunch with Mum at Rick Shores in Burleigh. I hadn’t made a reservation as it was a last minute idea so we got there at opening time, hoping they had room for some walk ins.
We were seated along a bar style table looking over the main restaurant area and straight out towards the ocean, and ordered our drinks. This view was why we had chosen this location. With the help of our very friendly waiter we chose a few items of the menu to share including the famous bug rolls.
Overall it was a very glamorous dining experience perfect for a celebration, but the food left me a little underwhelmed. I had expected a little more based on the reputation and the price tag, and unfortunately the signature yellow curry was just too sweet for our tastes.
The following weekend it was my turn. I had requested one thing, a break. So my lovely husband secretly whisked me into the city for a night at the new W Hotel. With super modern rooms with all the comforts you could ask for including huge bathtub and views over the river, it was the perfect place for a mini getaway.
After enjoying a few cocktails at the pool bar overlooking the river, we headed down to the restaurant and the real reason I had wanted to visit here. I have been a huge fan of Three Blue Ducks since the first time I visited The Farm in Byron Bay and knowing that they now had a Brisbane venue I was very eager to experience their menu.
With a focus on local and sustainable produce I knew we would be in for a delicious night. We ordered the ribeye, local moreton bay bugs, chargrilled octopus and a side of broccoli and asparagus served with an olive tapenade that threatened to steal the show. There were so many more options we could have tried but I was so full I regretfully had to pass on the dairy free dessert option.
Most Popular Blog Post
So this section is kind of awkward this month as I only published one blog post (I don’t count these monthly recaps) and it wasn’t even a new recipe! It was a roundup of 25 incredible vegan dessert recipes.
This month I was still working on recipes in the kitchen but I found uninspired with my photography. We have finally had rain and a few overcast weekends left me with little to no natural light to work with. I felt really uncomfortable with a couple of shoots and I was not happy with the end result so I decided not to post them. I will work on rephotographing them and hopefully you will see some new recipes come through soon.
So at the risk of not having posted anything this month, I decided to gather some inspiration from around the web to help me. Hopefully this month was just the unintentional break I needed to be able to come back to the blog next month more inspired and motivated with some great new content.
What I Read This Month
My reading dropped off this month (sensing a theme) with only 2 books completed. I was also reading slower as it took me longer to get through these books than I normally would. I just found this month I focused more on down time in front of the TV rather than reading. This is something I hope to rebalance in April.
The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion (2019)
I was so excited to hear about the release of this book! The third in the Don Tillman series, it was the final chapter in the life of Don & Rosie as they helped their son navigate through the tricky school years.
When we first met Don in The Rosie Project, we were always pretty sure he was on the autism spectrum somewhere, but cleverly Simsion never directly addressed this. The book told Don’s story in a way that was both hilarious, heartwarming and at moments sad as he tried to navigate his way in the world.
While the first book in the series focused on Don, the second focused on the relationship of Don and Roise, this third installment is about the family as a whole and focuses on the experiences of their son Hudson. Through this, Simsion brings up the autism question, for both Hudson and Don and we explore what this label means.
I found this exploration of autism really interesting. It didn’t just focus on what being on the spectrum is like, but rather it talked about the impact of a diagnosis not only on the individual but on the perceptions of the individual within their social interactions, such as in school or the workplace.
Hudson is an amazing kid with wisdom and knowledge above his 11 years. Again Simsion has the ability to develop such rich characters and cleverly weave them into some pretty complex storylines that are also lightly sprinkled with humour.
I really enjoyed this final chapter in the life of Don Tillman and if you haven’t read this series, I would highly recommend it. It’s also exciting to read such quality literature out of Australia.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (2012)
Ok so not to sound too dramatic but I am pretty sure this book changed my life. I have always known I was an introvert and understood that to mean that I need time by myself to recharge, BUT what I wasn’t aware of was that I am what is known as a highly sensitive introvert.
Sensitive people are not always introverts, and introverts are not always sensitive, but I am, and the way Cain described what this meant from a personality perspective just made so much sense to me. She explained that highly sensitive people have more vivid dreams (check) and struggle to watch TV and movies that have high levels of violence (why I couldn’t get past 1 episode of Game of Thrones and everyone else seems to think its the best thing ever), as an example.
I always thought that because I seemed different to other people in this regard that there was something wrong with me, but Cain explains that I was just born this way, it is my biology, and that there are plenty of other people like this in the world – we have just grown up in a society that values extroversion making it harder to understand this side of our personalities.
I found it really interesting how she explained that as an introvert, we don’t dislike interaction with people, and we can still thrive in leadership positions, and even put on a persona of an extrovert when the situation requires it and we are internally driven, however it is our reaction to these things that makes us different to our extroverted friends. We require more alone time to recharge and work better autonomously and prefer smaller, more engaging interactions with people rather than socialising in larger groups.
If you are an introvert, read this book. Now. If you are a parent or partner of an introvert, read this book. And if you are a teacher, read this book. It will show you how maybe that child you have labeled as ‘shy’ with all it’s negative association, really just craves the opportunity to work on their own tasks rather than always within a group environment.
What I Watched This Month
I binged all three seasons of Queer Eye this month and while I didn’t think I would, I absolutley loved it! I’ve never been a big fan of reality type programs but I remember enjoying the makeovers on the original show when I was young, so I decided to give this a watch.
After the first episode I was hooked. This is a show about people and about making changes in their lives to care for themselves just a little bit more. Each episode teaches a new lesson about life, acceptance, grief, love, beauty – just everything. Plus I really enjoyed getting to know each of the Fab 5 and they have some pretty raw moments talking about religion, politics, race, addiction, and family. They really seem like amazing people, and their dynamic together is just so enjoyable to watch.
There is SO MUCH more substance to this show that I would ever have anticipated and it just made me feel so much joy watching it, which can sometimes be hard to find in a TV show at the moment.
Beyond The Curve
I watched a few documentaries this month, and this one was well and truly insane. It is about the people who genuinely believe that the Earth is flat. They call themselves ‘flat-earthers’. Filmed in America (where else?) the documentary follows the self proclaimed leader of the new wave of ‘globe deniers’.
Basically they believe every single scientist in the world is part of a greater conspiracy by NASA and the US Government. I really tried to go into this with an open mind but it is insane.
And while this group seem to deny the truth of science, they still decide to conduct their own experiments to prove that the Earth is indeed flat. What happens is that they fail OF COURSE. But yet they believe that there must be another explanation for why their experiments ‘failed’.
It’s actually pretty terrifying when they talk about children at school following their parents beliefs and criticising their science teachers. These parents have instilled a fear and a distrust of education in these children, and this backwards thinking, and the undoing of years of progression, makes what our future may be quite scary.
The Umbrella Academy
This show had such a different premise when I read about it that I decided to give it a watch. That first episode was full of so many unexpected storylines that I became hooked.
The premise is as follows: ‘On one day in 1989, 43 infants are inexplicably born to random, unconnected women who showed no signs of pregnancy the day before. Seven are adopted by billionaire industrialist Sir Reginald Hargreeves, who creates the Umbrella Academy and prepares his “children” to save the world.’
30 years later, these 7 children come together in the first episode after the unexpected death of their Father.
I expected it to be similar to X-Men with ‘gifted’ students at an academy, but really it is a weird story of family dynamics along with a healthy dose of saving the world. Plus the soundtrack is ridiculously good and the use of music throughout the show is really clever and unexpected.
Overall, I appreciated this show as an escape from the traditional storylines and in a rare occurrence, it did different really well.
What I Listened To This Month
This is a section I have been wanting to add to this monthly recap for a while. Usually every month I find a song that I fall in love with and listen to basically everyday. But my taste in music is quite detached from the popular charts so I haven’t shared because I wasn’t sure how many of you would be interested or share the same taste in music.
But I have decided to overrule that fear because music is so incredibly important in my life and I really do want to share. This song showcases some insane vocals and gives me all the feels.
What’s coming up?
April is a relatively busy month. It all starts this weekend with our 5 year wedding anniversary (sidenote, I can’t believe it’s been 5 years already!!) and finally getting to see Book Of Morman which I have wanted to see for years.
This month I am also hosting my first ever dinner party! We usually only host low-key BBQs, so this will be a fun change. Keeping things simple with just a small group of friends (see above discussion on introversion), and a whole lot of good food and wine.
After that we have Easter and the super long weekend means getting out of the city and going camping. This little getaway is very overdue so it will be nice to switch off and relax in the middle of nowhere again with just a few close friends.
I hope that I can get back into the swing of posting regularly again here, but I know it may be challenging with a few busy weekends in a row. I think I am still trying to find a balance between life and the blog, and understanding what I can reasonably do without letting it feel overwhelming. So yeah, I’ll keep on working on that.