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.
After the tumultuous roller coaster that has been the last 12 months in my personal life, May did not hold back as it ripped the rug of stability out from underneath me.
I unexpectedly lost my job.
Now this was not something that I had originally intended to write about here. To be honest my first reaction was really not wanting to tell anybody. I guess in our society not having a job comes with attached feelings of shame and of failure, no matter how much reality is involved.
And the reality is that it wasn’t something I did, it was a business needing to cut costs. And unfortunately, in a world where we work for someone else, these decisions are made that have nothing to do with us, but also leave us with the weight of that decision.
So now, I am choosing to look at this as an opportunity to take some time off and rest and recharge both physically and mentally. I also now have all the time in the world to spend working on this little corner of the internet. Which might explain why I published 8 new posts this month!
I have also spent some time catching up with friends, spending time at the beach with my mum and taking photos of the beautiful bougainvillea near her house. Wandering the botanical gardens again taking photos (thank you to the little duck below for being a spectacular model) and then decorating my house with indoor plants, all while contemplating what the next move in my career may be.
It is sometimes hard to see unexpected change as a positive, and I know that while this has been difficult for me, I try and remember that I am not alone in this and unfortunately this situation is often a fact of life.
It is just another chapter.
For now, my challenge is to stay focused on the moment and try not to spend too much time wondering what the future may hold!
Most Popular Blog Post
As I mentioned above, this month I published a total of 8 new posts getting myself well and truly back into the swing of publishing two posts a week which I must say felt really good!
This month I also pressed publish on a non food related post – an article I wrote about visiting Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Germany. I am so proud of this article and the process of writing it took me back to why I love writing so much.
Out of the new posts this month, the one that seemed to be the most popular was this coffee & walnut loaf cake which was published just in time for Mother’s day. This cake really is amazing and I have been eating leftovers from my test batches out of my freezer for weeks and I still think it may just be my favourite cake flavour.
Mum’s Pumpkin Soup – a classic from my childhood and an ode to my mum.
Roasted Vegetable Bowls with Green Goddess Sauce (pictured below) – this sauce is INCREDIBLE.
Whole30 Slow Cooker Chilli – easy, healthy and made with bulk sweet potato.
Breakfast Potatoes with Asparagus and Egg – one of my favourite simple meals for anytime.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice – answering all the questions about the phenomenon of cauli rice.
Earl Grey Blueberry Crumb Muffins – brown sugar, cinnamon crumb topping – enough said!
Walking Through History: Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp – a look into what the experience is like to visit somewhere with a dark past.
What I Read This Month
Last month I mentioned that after a poor month of reading in April, I had hoped to get back on track for May. Well I managed to complete 4 books – so that is one a week which isn’t bad. But I still felt that I was struggling to find my rhythm.
So far this year I have completed 19 books, which puts me behind on my goal to read a total of 50 in 2019. I am hoping that over the next month with a little extra time on my hands I can catch up a bit.
If you have any must ready book recommendations please be sure to leave these in the comments because I am always looking for my next read!
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (2016) Audio
I had read many positive reviews for comedian and host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah’s autobiography and they all said, listen to the audiobook. So that’s what I did and I can now appreciate why. Noah performs the book and through his tone of voice, his accents, and language skills it becomes something so much more that it could have been had I read it myself.
Noah was born in South Africa during apartheid to a black mother and a white father literally making him ‘born a crime’. His mother had to live knowing that she could go to jail for having this child and Noah therefore spent much of his young childhood indoors.
In this book, Noah doesn’t talk about his career as a comedian but rather he focuses on growing up poor in a dangerous and changing South Africa. He talks about race as being a social construct and something that challenged him everyday being mixed or coloured. He talks about being seen as being a ‘white’ child due to his light coloured skin, but being raised in a black family by the strongest of women so having his internal identity and his appearance conflicting making it hard for him to fit in with social groups.
I found this book so fascinating I couldn’t stop listening. I didn’t really know much about Trevor Noah before but his story is incredible and if you are wanting something to listen to, I highly recommend this.
About the Night by Anat Talshir (2016)
This book was challenging and I found myself just wanting to preserve in hope that it would get better and then getting frustrated that it never did.
I downloaded this book as part of Amazon’s push to highlight international authors and I loved the idea of reading a book about Israel from an Israeli author. This is a love story spanning time and war as Elias and Lila fall deeply in love unable to be without each other but being forced to. Elias is a Christian Arab living on the eastern side of the newly divided city of Jerusalem, and Lila is a Jew living on the western side.
I wanted this book to be so much more than it was. I wanted to learn more about the devastation that the division of the city meant and how that impacted people to be suddenly separated for close to 20 years. But I felt that this was just a blurred backdrop to the pain that Lila felt at being separated from Elias.
The story is told from Elias’s perspective as he looks back over his life and his relationship with Lila. It is a story of hope, loss and love. But while the themes are powerful I felt that the prose fell short when it came to the connection with the reader. It is possible this is due to the English translation but either way I was not captivated by the story nor did I have any empathy for the characters.
Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson (2019)
Welcome back Mark Manson. Having enjoyed reading anything from Manson for years, I was a total fangirl waiting patiently for this book to be released and then downloading it the day of. The following day I picked it up and then proceeded to devour it in one day.
Much like Manson’s first book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck this is a no nonsense look at society and how we process situations and where we look to find meaning. In this book, Manson explores the question, that currently we are freer, healthier, wealthier with access to technologies to improve all aspects of life more so than at any other point in history, so then why is everything f*cked? He looks at feelings of hopelessness and draws on religion, politics and philosophy to examine why this is and present a new way of understanding how our feelings are developed.
To be honest, I probably read this book too fast and didn’t allow myself to digest fully the content on each page – so I will need to go back and re-read it again. But what I love is the humorous way Manson can present an analogy that allows his reader to understand complex philosophical ideas.
This is book is a work of modern philosophy that is approachable to everyone as it deep dives into our pain and anxieties and looks to redefine faith, freedom, happiness and even hope itself.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (2019)
This is one of those books that has been everywhere since it’s release, much to do with it being selected for Reece Witherspoon’s book club. And while I don’t always think Reece and I have the same taste in books, I was really intrigued by the premise of this one.
Daisy Jones & The Six are a rock ‘n’ roll band in the late 60s-70s and this is the story of their rise to fame. The story is told as an oral history from the members of the band and those close to them as they all remember their own versions of the story.
I found this a really clever way to tell the story as you always kind of felt like things were being left out or exaggerated. It made you believe that this was a true story as well, and really when reading it, it is hard to think that it is fictional as it is told in the landscape of rock ‘n’ roll through the seventies.
The story is a lot about drugs, a lot about sex and even more about the rock ‘n’ roll life and the price of fame. It is interesting and entertaining and worth the read.
What I Listened To This Month
This month was all about new discoveries and a change in what I usually listen to. I struggled with what song to single out as a few captivated me this month, but I have decided to go with the incredible Dermot Kennedy.
I have been listening to a Spotify playlist called Coffee & Chill for months now, generally while I am reading or working on my computer. It is the perfect playlist to just have on in the background.
A featured artist on this playlist is Irishman Dermot Kennedy, and this month I decided to stop and actually listen to his album. And woah, it is insanely good. He has this big, bold, beautiful voice that I just can’t get enough of.
See for yourself. Goose. Bumps.
What’s coming up?
Well, I need a job.
But in between the job searching, I will be spending most of my time here which is really exciting. So I do have a favour to ask, if you like something I post here, please leave a comment or give it a share as that really makes a big difference.
I will also be continuing to work on my heath which means trying to exercise daily and find a balance with eating foods that make me feel good. I am also committed to working on practising mindfulness to help me be more present in the moment and not so hung up on the next thing I should be doing.
Also in June I am finally hoping back on a plane! This time it is a long weekend trip to Melbourne so I am super excited about the change of scenery. We will be driving the Great Ocean Road to the 12 Apostles which I haven’t done before. I will need to make sure to dust off my warmest jackets though as I suspect it is going to be freezing!
A Final Thought
Sometimes things don’t quite go to plan. Nothing has shown me more than this month how something unexpected can happen that feels like it has the potential to derail you. But I think the lesson in this is that life is unexpected. From this we can choose to let it knock us down, or to look at it as an opportunity to move forward.
It’s easier said than done, but I want to end by saying if you are going through something that you feel is out of your control, know that you are not alone. Together we can be open to gratitude for what the future can deliver, and for what we still have in this moment.
In case no one has told you today, you are amazing and you’ve got this.