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Life at Number Eight: September 2019

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.

I know it seems cliched, but September was a month that seemed to just fly by. One of the things I wanted to achieve from writing these posts is to take a moment and really reflect on the month that has just gone by and make note of the things that defined it.

For September however, I don’t have a lot to say. I spent a lot of time working. Both at work and with the blog as I updated some old recipes. Most of my weekends were spent cooking and photographing, while my weeknights left me in front of my computer screen editing photos or writing up new blog posts.

We did manage to enjoy a night out watching the annual Riverfire firework display, far from the crowds while laughing with friends. It is these moments that remind me of the joys that can come from the warmer months spent with friends, outside with a BBQ and a cold drink.

This makes me smile and gives me something to look forward to as the temperatures start to rise and we start to wipe down the dust that has collected on ceiling fans, and clean out the air conditioner filters.

Most Popular Blog Post

It was a busy month on the blog! September was all about refreshing some older recipes that had been lost in my archives. As I thought about creating new content, I realised that I had a lot of older recipes that were great but nobody was looking at them. So with a little freshening up, new photos and clearer instructions, the following recipes have a brand new feel.

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes
Chicken Satay Noodles
Quick and Easy Chocolate Brownies
Easy No-Bake Lamington Bars
Pear and Prosciutto Salad

I also still managed to publish two brand new recipes this month, with my blueberry buttermilk pancakes taking out the spot as my most popular NEW post for the month, and the runner up being these classic sausage rolls, which I published just in time for the footy finals.

And finally as we start a new season, I did a round up of 26 budget recipes that are also really good for you from around the internet to help you meal prep some healthy dinner’s this month while keeping your budget in mind. We are coming into an expensive time of year, and I know I needed the help to start thinking about how to make that dollar stretch without compromising on nutrition and flavour, so I hope this resource is useful to you as well!

What I Read This Month

This month I tried to find my reading rhythm again. With the following books taking my tally for the year to 27, I am a long way from my goal of reading 50 books this year, but I do acknowledge that this is still a lot to most people.

Audio books still seem the easiest way for me to consume new books as they can fill the blank spaces in time, particularly when I can spend up to 2 hours a day on or waiting for public transport. But I am trying to make space at the end of each day to read and I am realising again how much I enjoy this simple activity.

Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope by Karamo Brown (2019) Audio

After binging the latest season of Queer Eye on Netflix, I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to the Fab Five. So when a recommendation popped up on Audible for Karamo the culture experts autobiography, I decided I could use an extra dose of his brand of emotional guidance.

I expected this book to be more of the musings that we see on the show, but it is an honest account of a life filled with mistakes and bad decisions that have all made him qualified to dole out life advice.

As a qualified social worker, Karamo has spent his life trying to help people by listening. But his life hasn’t always been about positive influence and he opens up about his role as an abusive partner. He shines light on domestic violence within same sex relationships and how perceptions of masculinity overshadow abuse when it is between two men.

This book didn’t quite engage me in the way I had hoped. When I watch the show I feel so much more connected to the truths and the emotional realness of each encounter he has with each person, but I struggled to get this same emotional connection through his stories alone.

This book was an interesting look behind the curtain of the show and highlighted the importance of trusting your dreams and working towards them, but I did feel the content while honest and personal lacked a little depth.

A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern (2006)

This is one of the books I picked up at the Lifeline book fair earlier this year. When I picked it up I was instantly intrigued by the premise. What happens to all the things that are lost, where do they go?

Sandy Short cannot fathom what happens when things just disappear. It starts when she is 10 and the girl across the street goes missing without a trace. Where is she? And is she in the place where all missing things go?

Ahern explores this by imagining a physical place where the lost things go. And when Sandy ends up there herself, it is up to her to share the stories that have not been forgotten. But now that she is lost, how can she return home to share what she has discovered?

Written by the same author as P.S I Love You, I knew that this would be a well written and structured book. It was just what I needed to get myself out of the reading rut I had found myself in. I sat the book on my bedside table and made it my mission to read at least a chapter or two each night before going to sleep.

This book was perfect for that. Light enough that I could fall asleep after, switching my brain off, but still interesting enough to make me keep picking it up, eager to find out what happened next.

Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey by Alice Robb (2018) Audio

My whole life I have dreamed vividly. I wake feeling as though the events in my dream have been real. And despite how unrealistic they are, they stay with me like memories. After a period of particularly strong dreaming over the course of a couple of weeks, I decided to finally look into why this happens in the hopes that I could learn how to have a peaceful nights sleep.

This book looks at dreaming as though it holds power. It explores it as an unknown, alternate reality that exists and encourages us to learn how to take advantage of it.

I was interested in the conversations and history of learning that is associated with lucidity – the practise of being conscious while dreaming and further, being able to control the events that take place within a dream state. This however was encouraging vivid dreaming which was the opposite of what I had wanted to find.

Robb drew on many psychological studies that sought to understand the question of why we dream, but rather than draw a singular conclusion, she alluded to the answer being determined by environmental stimuli, most of which is not available to us in consciousness.

This book is an interesting discussion on dreaming, and while I didn’t quite find exactly what I was looking for, it certainly gave me some interesting perspectives.

What I Listened To This Month

This month I spent a lot of time listening to Bon Iver’s latest album i,i and it is giving me life right now. While I’ve previously been a fan, this album is by far my favourite and I feel the exploration and the shifting of boundaries of musicality pulsing through my speakers.

This is the album I didn’t know I needed. And of my favourite tracks, Hey, Ma is brilliant but I also love Jelmore with its unique rhythms and sounds.

What’s coming up?

If you remember way back to my October update last year, you will know that it was one of the most difficult times in my family’s life. I haven’t chosen to share the details here as it felt too personal to share our story of loss in such a public way. But as we get to being one year on, we want to take this time to give each other what we need. If things are a little more quiet here on the blog and on social media during October, then you will know why.

A Final Thought

I think it’s really important in a world full of constant busyness that we take the time to slow down and reflect on the time that has passed. All too often we feel as though time is moving by so quickly we forget to acknowledge the little things that make up this time.

So take a moment, put on your favourite song, slowly sip your favourite drink and acknowledge the last month, before we get stuck into the next.

Sally x

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