A letter to my friend (#1)

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.—Albert Schweitzer

Letter to my friend
November 2018

Dear Michael,

Someone asked today, as an exercise in gratitude, what the highlight of my day was.  I replied by telling them I’d spent the day in tears.

As you know there have been many tears lately, yours and mine, and I’m crying again as I write this, I’m finding it hard to catch my breath and quell my sadness. The gratitude comes from knowing how lucky and blessed I have been to have you in my life; knowing I have someone in my life who makes saying goodbye so hard. I know we will always be friends, but I will miss seeing you every day.

I don’t think I would survive now without you in my life. You bring the sun with you; you light up the room, you bring laughter and fun but most of all I have valued your wise counsel, your belief in me and encouragement along the way.

Friends cheer each other on, I know that, but you were daily at forefront of my horror and you cheered me on when my biggest achievement was getting out of bed and standing up straight. You have made me feel loved and cared for in a time when I was sinking. You have been a trusted and faithful ally through the ugliest of days, taking me away from the office, making me eat, giving me cause to laugh, checking in on me minute by minute, hour by hour; and when my head gradually rose above the watermark you were still there.

We are an unlikely duo who have become firm friends. I thank God and the universe for bringing us together. We’ve been the dream team: MJ and Pippin, Harvey and Jessica. We’ve played a long game and smashed some big goals this year. We’ve enjoyed intellectual debate and I know it stung when I won but Jessica’s composure and experience will always trump Harvey’s suave impulsiveness.

You’ve taught me what real love is, what true friendship is, you’ve taught me to trust myself and back myself, you’ve encouraged me to fly and pushed me when I was afraid. You’ve listened to me rant, you’ve supported me when I’ve doubted myself, you’ve helped me see the light and taught me to have fun again.

If there truly is such a thing as a soul mate, I believe you are mine. Maybe I have relied on you too much, but the pain of your departure is so intense that it could only be the separating of souls.  You know me in a way only a very special few do. I appreciate your acceptance of my quirks and failings. Your relentless jibes at my (few) particular nuances has helped me laugh at myself and taught me not to take life so seriously.

One of my greatest joys has been watching you fill people up.  You are passionate about life and you value your friendships.  I see you reach out and care for people before you take care of yourself. I see you go out of your way for those you love and expect nothing in return.  You are like a knight who goes to war for those you love, without hesitation.  You love fiercely and unconditionally. It’s who you are. I see your strength, your passion, and I see your vulnerability.

Thank you for allowing me to witness your vulnerability, for trusting me, for confiding in me, for sharing your heart and allowing me to hold the space for you, on the few occasions, when you needed it.  You have grown stronger this year without realising and while you are independent and don’t like relying on others, just remember you’re not Superman, Batman, LeBron or any of the super heroes, you’re a man and you need a support team too mate.

I hope you know how much I appreciate you, how much I appreciate everything that you have done for me and I hope that you know I would do anything for you.  It’s inevitable that relationships change over time and while life is taking us on our different paths, please know, I will always be there for you. You’re my person (you were brave enough to volunteer) and while you have ‘K’ now, know I will be your person for as long as you want.

Thank you for getting to know me, showing me the sincerest support and unconditional love. I can’t thank you enough for the countless half strength flat whites on almond milk, or the times you stopped traffic for me, or held me back from stepping off the curb too early, for all the Pimms jugs, roof top bar chats, my first espresso martini and Jagerbomb, for the gorgeous photos, best Japanese food and the million laughs; for not shying away from my tears and trusting me with your heart and your story and your inner most feelings. Thank you.

I want you in my life forever Michael, you’ve made every single day better. That’s what makes your move so hard. I’m ecstatically happy for you. For the new life you are about to begin; a new job, a beautiful partner, a new home. You deserve it all and more.

I know you will never see yourself in the words I have written but I’ve seen it every single day, and so much more. It’s why you deserve this incredible new life that’s unfolding for you. You deserve every good thing the universe has to offer Michael because you make the world a better place.  I love you for it.

For these reasons and many, many more, the highlight of my day, was you.

xxx

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Get your groove on ―it’s a rush!

Go ahead. Get your thrill on.” ― Gina Greenlee

I swept through the door and sent a message to my friend:

“I’m in love with life, my body and dancing in the dark for making me feel this way.”

I was on a high—giddy with the tantalising buzz of having spent an hour dancing in a darkened room with a bunch of strangers.  Usually sensitive to loud music I revelled in the noise that created a space in my head—a space where there was no thinking, no ruminating, no space for anything but the rhythm and the beat.  Once lost in the music my body began moving. Tightly sprung, rigidly held muscles loosened and I began to dance. No plan, no style, no care or thought or partner just moment. Just dancing in the dark.

What’s more, there was no self-consciousness because all the lights were out and while I could just make out the silhouette of the people nearby I couldn’t make out features or anything distinct. Everyone just did their own thing, anonymously, uninhibited and carefree.

For an hour I let it all go. Jumped, jived, swayed, shimmied, bopped and boogied. It is the best $8 I’ve ever spent. What a rush.

Needless to say, I can’t sleep and so, my friend, I share my excitement with you.

Do you have a No Lights No Lycra or Dancing in the Dark night near you? It’s definitely worth investigating if you do. I haven’t felt this alive in, well, almost forever.  Yippee!

 

 

Shibori to soothe the soul

“Go wide, explore and learn new things. Something will surely have a kick for you”
― Mustafa Saifuddin

“Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for your life to begin and start making the most of the moment you are in.”
― Germany Kent

Shibori, a form of Japanese cloth dyeing, dates from the 8th century.  A variety of techniques produce some stunning designs on fabric.

I recently attended a short Shibori inspired workshop and walked away with two, once snow-white, beautifully patterned pillowcases in varying shades of blue.  Traditional Shibori dye is indigo but due to the cost of indigo and the smell (the workshop was in a shopping centre believe it or not), we used instead a commercial blue dye.  Having visited an indigo dye facility in China many years ago I can vouch for the smell being quite pungent and permeating.

Traditionally, particular Shibori techniques were used with different types of fabric and the pattern one wanted to achieve.  The fabric can be bound, stitched, folded, twisted or compressed before the dyeing process.

One of the techniques in the workshop was similar to tye-dyeing, where sections of cloth are gathered and bound using either rubber bands, twine or string.  The pattern differs dependent on where and how tightly the binding is tied.  The tighter the binding the whiter the fabric underneath.  This is most similar to Kanoko Shibori.

Pleating and folding the fabric before binding produces not the nice circular patterns of Kanoko Shibori but patterns more in line with Kumo Shibori. I concertina folded my pillowcases, one lengthwise, the other along the short edge. I used a combination of pegs and string to bind.

The preparation of the fabric was quite quick.  First it needed to be dampened.  Then bound in the desired manner before being submerged in dye.  After a twenty-minute wait, an unbinding and quick rinse the patterns were revealed. I’m quite pleased with the effect.  My final products are by no means works of art but the process was fun.  I got to spend an hour and a half with a group of men and women from diverse backgrounds, we chatted and laughed and sipped coffees, iced chocolates and tea and nibbled on fruit and cheese.

This simple act of creating something, time spent with strangers and stepping out of routine buoyed my spirit and gave my mind a break. The act of making patterns on fabric is a great analogy for the act of reimagining and recreating the patterns of my life. A process I have just recently begun.

A year of inspiration: Inspired by the need to give my brain a break and the necessity to recreate the pattern of my life.

Using tech to keep track of resolutions

“I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. ”
― Anaïs Nin

“Good resolutions are like babies crying in church. They should be carried out immediately.”
― Charles M. Sheldon

Every year between 41 and 63% of us, depending on the country you are from, make resolutions, set goals and have shiny new aspirations for the year ahead. January is usually a month of promise. All our plans are firmly in our heart and mind, they are enacted with zeal. February sees us still buoyed by our visions, by March we are slipping away slightly from the goal. In April, May, June that little voice in our head tells us we really should get back on track and do that stuff we’d planned. Sadly, as the months roll on the resolution is a dim memory, discarded detritus. Most resolutions don’t see the year out.  80% are forgotten, sidestepped or bypassed in 3 months.  Does that mean it’s futile to set resolutions?  I don’t think so, though I think there are better ways to improve life.

I gave up on the resolution idea a long time ago.  It  didn’t work for me, I sucked at it and it added more pressure than was necessary to a life already complicated in other ways. I opted instead for making a bucket list to support a well lived life.  It was a long list of joyful activities, challenges and pursuits to colour and flavour the year ahead. No pressure, no strict deadlines, no do or die expectations. Some years later I started creating a photographic montage, a treasure map of sorts, a nice visual reminder of those bucket list items which I started to call my love list (giving it a more positive spin). The visual cue was  successful. I achieved way more on my love list than ever before. It was appealing, motivating and in view each day.  Some time in between I used post it notes and a big wall chart to plot my goals and progress.  The visual was good. Adding, updating and moving notes to the progressed section was appealing.  I experimented with boldly writing goals on the shower screen in non-permanent pen.  In bright colours my yearly goals were accompanied by affirmations and uplifting quotes.  There was no missing them. They were quite ‘in your face’.  I liked that too. Though I’m not sure I saw any progress.

This year, as I contemplated my visual treasure map, my son intervened.  He sent me an invitation to view his goal list for the year.  He was building accountability by sharing his goals and aspirations.  I was honoured that he would consider me a worthy ally in his quest.  The vehicle he chose to keep track of his goals is a tool called Trello.  He encouraged me to use it too. My first challenge for the year.

I have a fairly open mind when it comes to technology but I’m awkward with it.  I love pen and paper, I love building things and crafting things by hand.  So I wasn’t at first impressed by it.  It felt flat and bland and simply too hard for me to work out.  Until one Saturday morning with a cup of tea I decided to explore a little more.  I moved away from the way my son had used it and painted my own adventure.  I created something I liked. I added some images for appeal and was quite happy with my creation. Doubt lingered however. I wasn’t convinced it would be as immediate, arresting and useful as my good old A5 photographic treasure map. It required a different set of behaviours and habits on my part for it to work.  I can report, that two months later, with a little persistence and a change of attitude, I’m hooked.

I am pretty sure Trello was never designed for a middle-aged woman (despite how young at heart, vibrant and energetic she may be) to create her love list for the year.  It is, however, a brilliant project management tool that can aid the smallest personal project through to the very largest corporate projects.  It’s basically a great big empty wall you can fill with ‘post it’  notes to keep track of your stuff. You can add comments, create lists, add labels, cue due dates, send messages to other people in your project, label progress and that’s just in the free version. For a small fee there are loads more tools at user disposal.  Oh, gosh, that sounds like an advertisement, doesn’t it?  It’s not meant to be.  I simply wanted to share a new tool that is working for me that may work for you.

It’s an extremely flexible tool too.  Once you create your “post it notes” you can move them around and order them, you can insert new ones at will, discard them, batch or group them.   I am finding it a useful place to hold my ideas, I can share them, I can ask for input from my son who I share my board with.  My initial fears and concerns have been allayed.  I am referring to it regularly to keep track of my progress and add new adventures.  It’s fun and engaging.  I could use it to plan an overseas holiday.  I could also have used it to plan the multi million dollar project I am managing at work.  If you are looking for a way to motivate your goal setting or a neat project management tool, check out Trello.

If, like me, you are a novice with technology, keep Walt Disney’s sentiment in mind – don’t be afraid to keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things. Being curious leads us down new paths and who knows where that will lead?

 

Pass the popcorn ― how to have more fun

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It’s crazy, waiting for the universe to knock on the door and offer fulfilment on a platter.  ― Shannyn Steel

If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that nobody is here forever. You have to live for the moment, each and every day . . . the here, the now.”    ― Simone Elkeles

I’ve been marking time. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for something to change. Waiting to find the thing that would propel me into the joyful, purposeful life I’d hoped for. Toward the end of last year the penny dropped and I suddenly understood what I already knew but wasn’t able to acknowledge. It’s crazy waiting for the universe to knock on the door and offer fulfilment on a platter.

After all that waiting I’ve finally twigged that the trick to this whole fulfilment thing is to get out there and do stuff that I want more of in life. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

A startling discovery, made as a result of this brain wave, is that the one thing I want more of in my life right now is not time, not spiritual connection, not more authentic relationships, though that would be nice too. What I want more of in my life right now is fun. Yes, fun. Now don’t get me wrong. My life is not devoid of enjoyment. There are plenty of things that bring me joy; spotting a flower dewy with raindrops; the smell, texture and colour of soggy leaves on the forest floor after a thunderstorm; the smell of freshly cut grass and the sound of kookaburras laughing from the great pine tree in my neighbour’s yard. Those things and more fill me with joy. I also have many pleasant ways to pass the time that would constitute enjoyment too. Long strolls on the beach, reclining with a good book, baking a batch of cookies for my beloved’s lunch. Those things are enjoyable to me. What I’m after is in a whole different category.

Fun to me is more outrageous than enjoyment. It’s buzzy and exciting and perhaps more “in the moment” rather than a slow burn. Do you see the difference?

I have begun gathering a list of big fun and little fun activities in earnest.  Big fun activities are those that may cost a bit of money and require a little planning like indoor skydiving, parasailing, swinging on a trapeze. Little fun is something that could be undertaken on the spur of the moment, is relatively inexpensive and something that could raise the fun factor on any given day. Such as jumping on a swing in the local park and throwing your head back to drink in the sky.

Maybe you’d like to do the same. As ideas come to mind they could be written on a piece of paper, thrown into a big bowl with the intention of pulling an idea from the ‘popcorn’ bowl to infuse life with fun.  I’m going to experience ‘popcorn’ fun weekly and plan big fun, depending on the scale of it, monthly or quarterly. Oh, and I am going to scheduled those big fun activities to give me something to look forward to and to ensure having more  fun becomes a reality rather than a hope, wish or a dream.

Here are some popcorn fun ideas my friend Margaret, a kid at heart who  hasn’t lost sight of how much fun life can be, shared with me to start filling the bowl. I hope you get some ideas to add to your list.

Build a sandcastle or mermaid on the beach.
Water pistol shooting
Play SNAP (the card game)
Bubble blowing
Slide on a flying fox
Chew bubble gum and pop it.
Watch a funny cartoon
Singing in the shower
Dancing nude under the moon
Walk barefooted to the park
Feed the birds
Read Dr Seuss aloud
Pull weird faces and take pictures to replay
Walk on stilts
Dress up as a chicken
Three legged race
Sand dune sliding on cardboard

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You’ll never be disappointed if you always keep an eye on uncharted territory, where you’ll be challenged and growing and having fun.     Kirstie Alley

I celebrated a birthday this week and decided to treat myself. No it wasn’t a BIG birthday, though each birthday is a big bonus. I usually go pretty low-key on my birthday, let it slip by without causing a blip but this year I made plans. I booked in for a skydive.

There’s a small caveat I should add – it was indoor skydiving. I’m not known for being outrageously spontaneous or reckless so I figure you can’t go from zero to 100 right off the bat.

The experience was immensely entertaining and massively good fun. Ten other flyers aged from 4 through to late 60’s arrived for a morning of high-speed adventure.  After a short training session we suited up in overalls, goggles, earplugs and a helmet. I’m not sure how the instructor expected us to hear him once earplugs and helmet were firmly in place but we did manage through sign language.

We took seats in the viewing area around the twelve-foot vertical wind tunnel into which we would soon venture.  It’s always amusing watching people try to manouver into the first position when faced with a queue.  Strangely, there was no jockeying or positioning this day.  Perhaps, like me, no one really wanted to be first, despite the excitement.  This is one of those rare occasions where I knew it would be beneficial to watch someone do it before I had my attempt.  Having successfully secured the third position I took mental notes, between cheering and clapping, laughing and grinning like a Cheshire cat, and was sure I could overcome the body alignment issues my fellow flyers had encountered.

It’s fascinating how difficult it is to maintain control over your limbs when you’ve literally been swept off your feet and buoyed by a surge of air.  A surge of air that is causing your nostrils to flare alarmingly, like that of a skittish steed. Once I’d reassured myself I could breath, despite my initial alarm, I was heady and slightly disoriented and I couldn’t stop laughing. That was until I realised I had little control over my saliva and that it was now dampening my face (I had wondered why the instructor wore a helmet with a full face cover.) Trying to laugh with a closed mouth, breathe, ensure my legs and arms were positioned well and smile for the camera was an awful lot to pay attention to all at once.  My certificate states I can fly with minimal assistance, move up and down in the air flow, turn 360 degrees as well as hold a still, controlled body position.  I have a way to go to fly to a given point and move forward or backward apparently.  I had no idea I could do so much in so short a time frame – it really wasn’t a conscious effort.  I’m almost sure it was all luck.

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Indoor skydiving was a most unusual and exciting experience. It’s quite unlike anything else, expect, I imagine, jumping out of a plane. As a result of this and another recent exhilarating escapade in an escape room I am on the hunt for fun and exciting experiences to add to my love list (more commonly known as a bucket list). Any ideas?

Inside a mystery box

Image sourced from Lacy Lane

Image sourced from Lacy Lane

Even though you’re growing up, you should never stop having fun.  – Nina Dobrev

You can be childlike without being childish. A child always wants to have fun. Ask yourself, ‘Am I having fun?’ – Christopher Meloni

Life is more fun if you play games.  – Roald Dahl

As a child I was fascinated by mystery boxes.  Being presented with a number of unobtrusive boxes and being tasked with choosing one to reveal either a welcome bounty or a dud souvenir was excruciatingly enticing . I delighted in the weighing up of possibilities and the anticipation –  would there be ultimate enjoyment or a momentary disappointment from having made the wrong decision?  Recently the tables were turned slightly. I was not choosing a box for a reward but rather I was put inside a mystery box and the ultimate reward came from escape.

My analogy is weak, I agree, so let me tell you a little about one of the most exhilarating  fun experience I have had in a very long time.

It all began with a shake down.  Phones and other electronic devices were confiscated and locked away.  A hood was placed over my head. I don’t go in much for blindfolds and I certainly don’t like hessian bags over my head but in the spirit of adventure and fun I played along.  We were led to our chamber and once our captor departed and locked us within we removed our bags to find we were in the dark bowels of the Butcher’s Burrow.  We had 50 minutes to escape our fate and I had no idea how to begin. There were limited tools at our disposal and those that seemed to exist were sealed away with combination locks. Time was of the essence and the two of us had to work together to escape.  Our first objective was to find light.

I would love to describe in detail the steps we took to escape and the challenges we faced but that would spoil the fun should you attempt this yourself. The Exitus escape rooms are an exciting addition to the adult fun arena.  The room we visited is part of the entertainment at Strike Bowling in the city of Brisbane but they are popping up almost everywhere.  Each room has a theme where minimal clues are given and teams must use their wits and combined brain power to solve the puzzles confronting them. The goal is to escape before the nominated time is up.  You can ask for clues – using the iPad that is supplied or the mobile phone that links directly to the administrator.  Beware – there are time penalties for clues.

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Before entering, I was a little apprehensive.  The thought of being locked in an unfamiliar room for close to an hour, sent my heart a flutter.  What if I felt claustrophobic and too confined, what if I  needed to get out?  Those thoughts soon passed and then a sheen of sweat broke out as I wondered if I would know what to do. Would I be able to solve the puzzles?  What if I needed maths? I need not have worried.  Precautions are in place in case of panic – the mobile phone allows for an instant exit should you need it and the puzzles, well, while they initially  seemed unsolvable, once an instinctual need to ‘escape’ kicked in the fuzziness of my mind was miraculously unlocked and I forged ahead.  Good news too – no maths needed.

My adult son and I worked exceptionally well as a team.  He had been in an escape room before and had some sense of what was required so with a little guidance we set about our task with the pressure and weight of a ticking clock as a constant motivator. We each had our moments of clarity and success and often times it was our combined collaboration that saw the different clues uncovered and puzzles solved.  Teams of up to six can enter the rooms.  I would have found that a little difficult; coping with too many personalities and noise may have rendered me incapable of clear throughout but it may also add to the fun for many.

We escaped, triumphant.  In our last three minutes, holding our final clue we were stumped.  We tossed around ideas, tried various options but relented and asked for a clue.  We weighed the alternative – time penalty or eviction without resolution.  We chose to finish the puzzle.  Surprisingly we were on the right path and probably would have gotten to the end point unaided but that ticking clock forced our hand.

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If you want to experience the difference between fun and enjoyment but don’t want to jump out of planes, travel too far from home or spend a fortune; try escape rooms – they are loads of fun and worth every cent. The warm after glow will provide you with plenty of lasting enjoyment once the thrill of the moment has passed.

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Interviewing David

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“I’m a little bit naked, but that’s okay.”
― Lady Gaga

If you could interview a work of art, what would it be and what would you ask?  This sounds like a pretty random idea, I know, but it came from listening to a radio interview by Richard Fidler, on Conversations. He was talking with a gentleman who had a very unique, full body tattoo and at one point Richard commented that he’d never interviewed a work of art before.  It got me thinking, what a neat idea.

The hardest part of this scenario, once you’ve taken the leap into the quirky world of oddity and imagination, is selecting just one artwork to interview.  How do you choose one piece that you’d love an audience with to get to know better from a world full of magnificent works? I’ve visited some of the most magnificent galleries in the world and enjoyed the talent of local artists as well as great masters. I appreciate and am enthralled by a variety of mediums, subjects and artistic styles. Yes, choosing just one is tricky. So I simply shut my eyes and decided on the first image that came to mind. It was a close tie between Michelangelo’s David and the Venus de Milo.

In the end, I thought David might be fun. Now, I’m never going to be an award-winning journalist and I’m sure, once I post this piece I will think of a trillion other questions but here were my initial thoughts, interests, curiosities.

David, I imagine it gets pretty tiring having droves of people comment on how large and out of proportion your hands are each day. What other unique challenges do you face?

Do you suffer from body image issues?

What do you feel is your most endearing feature?

If you could swathe yourself in a single outfit, what fabric would you choose?

You have one day to do anything you like. Where would you go and what would you do?

How do you feel about Michelangelo after all this time? If you were to meet now, what would you share with him?

Your surroundings are pretty stark. What’s your favourite colour?

Can you account for your continued celebrity?

Tell me about your earliest memory.

Where would you like to be five years from now?

What did I miss? What would you have asked in addition? Like I said, no Pulitzer Prizes for award-winning journalism for me but this exercise, as well as being a bit of quirky fun, challenged me to think in different and creative ways and that’s a good thing to do occasionally. I also found I was anticipating the responses and I now have a different viewpoint from which to think. Pretty neat.

How could you challenge yourself to think outside the realms of  the everyday?

Skylarking: a slow sweet Sunday

 

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I went to the bank and asked to borrow a cup of money. They said, “What for?”
I said, “I’m going to buy some sugar.” — Steven Wright

Last weekend I went on a sweet journey to sugar heaven.

It all began with my beloved bemoaning that the lolly shop, at the nearby shopping centre, no longer stocked a particular type of lolly. He calls them ‘talkies’. I know them as ‘conversations’. Do you know the ones? They are usually shaped like hearts, come in a variety of pastel colours. They’re a hard chalky lolly with little messages written on them. Sweet little messages like “I love you”, “You’re cute”, ” Be mine”.

Remembering a small advertisement I’d seen recently I suggested he try one of the confectionary warehouses.  A quick google search revealed that the one I had in mind did indeed stock these conversation candies, in varying weights from 300g to a kilo, all at very reasonable prices.  That little tidbit of information was filed away with only  a modicum of interest by my sweet toothed beloved.

Sunday morning unfolded in a relaxed manner with breakfast on the deck and reading the papers before I was very romantically invited to join said beloved on a trip to the hardware store; a date I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

Having sated ourselves with our browsing of timber fence palings, posts and rails and with few other plans for the day,  I suggested we check out the candy warehouse.  There was some hesitation from my partner in crime as it required a jaunt across our fair city. Several moments later however we ventured out in search of (one of) his favourite childhood sweets.

The drab old warehouse gave nothing away as to the delights within. It’s exterior was dull compared to the bright and colourful interior. On entering the we were greeted by an enchanting bouquet that was akin to the joy of waking, as a child, on Christmas morning and seeing a well stocked Santa bag at the foot of the bed. It was heavenly.

We scampered about, aisle after aisle, oohing and ahhing and exclaiming “remember these”, “look at this”. We were surprised by the massive sizes of some packages and the wide variety of chocolates, lollies, nuts, and other products. Needless to say my offer to grab a basket upon entry, that was initially ignored, was soon accepted. My husband was like, well, a kid in a candy store.

As the basket quickly  filled  I heard cries of needing to rationalise the quantity of the selections already made. Before approaching the register, one lone kilo packet of jelly beans was left behind and we scarpered out the door with a year’s supply of  swagger.

As a non sugar eater myself, though I do confess to regularly having sweet cravings, I marvel that I  enjoy browsing lolly shops and bakeries without salivating. I did, however, make two small purchases; there was something for everyone. The  deal on cacao nibs drew my attention and I was overjoyed at finding my favourite decaf black tea, currently difficult to find elsewhere. We both left skipping with the joy of a fun purchase.

Hold the bells, I’m not advocating a diet high in processed sugar. Everything in moderation should always be the mantra, though I can’t say just how long this stash will last given the ‘healthy’ appetite for junk food my darling possesses.

Sometimes it’s the little things; like spending time together, making new discoveries and releasing your inner child that are the sweetest treats in life. How sweet does your weekend look?

Things I’m lovin’ right now

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The way to know life is to love many things.

Vincent Van Gough 

My friend and fellow blogger, Sarah from clevercook, inspired me to consider things I’m loving right now. She often does a post of fab food and cooking ingredients she has discovered.

Book crossing
This is a fun way to pay it forward in a mysterious kind of way. Basically, you leave books in different places for someone else to enjoy. The theory is the book travels from place to place, reader to reader and, if registered, its journey can be followed. I’ve enjoyed sharing my read and loved books this way. It’s always interesting to wonder who will pick them up.

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Paleo and Primal cafes
Ahhh. At last. A place I can eat without looking like a fussy, freaky, foodie. These cafes offer sugar free, dairy free, wheat free meals packed with delicious goodness. I’ve recently visited the Primal Pantry for a sensational breakfast and the Paleo cafe at Paddington for a sumptuous lunch. I’m loving the bone broth.

Geocaching
I’ve been a member now for about four years after being introduced to this fun pastime by my son. It’s a global game akin to treasure hunting.  When I say game it’s not a sport exactly or something you have to do with lots of people, though you can if you want to. It does get you out into the world and visiting some fascinating places. I have found 617 caches hidden in various places from bushland and urban areas around my city, to Tasmaina and the Colosseum in Rome. Its great fun, check it out.

Carol Dweck and mindset
I’m a total groupie. I met, shook hands with, got a photo with her and had her sign my book last week. Carol Dweck is a guru on mindset and I’m enjoying her book and researching mindset.

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New workouts
You’ve got to love change for its reinvigorating properties. I’ve been experimenting lately with heavy weights. I saw a marked increase in my strength over twelve weeks when I incrementally increased the weights I was lifting so I could only do four repetitions. It’s pretty awesome to witness a change like that. For instance, I began pressing 40 kilograms for 12 repetitions and completing 3 sets of these to pressing 120 kilos for three sets of four repetitions each. Leg presses that is, gosh not bench presses yet.

Now I’ve moved onto body weight and resistance band exercises with a focus on unilateral training.  It’s a nice change, totally different. It’s still a good workout, I actually feel light and buzzy when I leave the gym each day.

Sesame oil
My friend and mentor Nicole from Cauldrons and Cupcakes shared a tip for those feeling anxious, particularly after earth tremors.  She suggested the use of sesame oil on the soles of the feet at night.  Can I suggest you wear socks if you try this as sesame oil, while gorgeously scented, is dark in colour and may stain your sheets. For the past two weeks I have been massaging a little oil into the soles of my feet before bed and I have slept better than I have in a very long time. Dreamt even.

Bubbles
I’m loving bubbles right now. I’m loving them because they are whimsical, fun and totally frivolous. There is no sensibility or maturity or rationality required with bubbles. I am seeing bubbles everywhere and they make me feel happy, light and full of gratitude for such simple pleasures.

Chiropractic adjustments.
I’ve enjoyed several sessions with a chiropractor recently and feel less crotchety, more fluid and vibrant. Yay!

Essential oils
Mmmm. I’m using a number of essential oils right now that are pure magic. Lavender, rosemary, peppermint, frankincense, geranium, orange and pine. There is no need for chemical based perfumes when you have can have a natural alternative with healing properties.

Zinc
I have to add zinc in here because I heard the other day that it has been shown to prevent colds and flu. My workplace has been hit hard by a dreadful flu, nearly everyone has had it and been off work for several weeks. Everyone that is except the woman who told me about the zinc and me. We figure it’s got to be the zinc that’s saved us.  What a blessing in disguise. I’m taking the zinc because my hair is falling out but I haven’t had the flu. Got to love it!

I could go on but who wants to read more? It’s nice to realise in the routine of life that little things stand out and bring moments of joy.

What are you lovin’ right now?

Shannyn