Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Book review: 'Halo'

Due to popular demand*, I have begun a new series of posts reviewing books.

*By "popular demand' I mean one person has asked me to do review books but she asked me more than once so that counts right? Plus I do often get asked by people for book recommendations, so here goes.

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto 

Halo is a young adult book, written by an Australian author, set in a coastal town in the US. While it is targeted at young adult readers, it is a full length novel (around 400 pages in my version) and has enough depth to very easily be classified as an adult read.

The book centrals around Bethany (Beth) Church, an angel sent to Earth along with her siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, to masquerade as humans to fulfill a special mission. It is important to note that these are not fallen angels, but rather they are sent to make the world a better place. It is Beth's first mission to Earth and she is inexperienced in the depth of human emotions, senses, and the need to maintain a physical body. In an effort to assimilate, Beth attends the local high school and this, of course, leads to her forming very human relationships. This is all occurring alongside dangers that are most definitely not human.

This description gives the impression that the story is full of cliche morals, but this is not the case. The story line hits the balance between discussing boundaries without making it seemingly obvious, and manages to discuss religion subtly in a way that does not seem religious at all. It is very much a  story about relationships of types: sibling relationships, parent-child relationships, friendships, loyalty to ones own beliefs, and romantic relationships.

I am always reading at least 2 books. There is always one that lives in my work bag (aka 'train reading') and one that lives by my bed (aka 'bed reading). Halo was one of those rare books that crossed the line between both. I was so absorbed in this book that it actually moved with me between realms. Not only that, I went straight online and ordered the next two books in the trilogy.

Buglet and Tink are also planning on reading Halo so I will provide an update when, and if, they do.

  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • No-one actually asked me to review this book, I just liked it so I thought I would share
  • I would suggest trying the book yourself rather than just trusting my opinion on it.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.

Sunday, 24 May 2015


This is one of those posts where I:
(a) decided what I was going to write about;
(b) thought of a catchy title to match the content;
(c) wrote the title and nothing else at first draft;
(d) came back to the post a little while later; and
(e) spent some time staring at the title wondering what on earth I had been planning on writing about.

It is ok people. I have remembered! But I just thought that you'd all like to know that despite the lack of proofing and/or editing in some posts, and despite my tendency to ramble, a great deal of thought does actually going into my writing.

Have I mentioned before that the "trending" topics on facebook and twitter generally just make me realise how untrendy I am? Except on International Women's Day. I was all sussed on that one.

So what's been trending in my universe?!

If March was the Month of Insane Work Life, April was the Month of Guiding, and May is shaping up to being the Month of Domestic Goddessing (I am sort of hoping June will be the Month of Visiting Country People, but we will have to wait and see).

It has been a long time since I've had five Guiding weekends in a row, but that was exactly how April ended up being.

I don't know if anyone remembers me talking about Guide choir at Christmas? Anyway we had a few rehearsals for that including a 24 hour sleepover rehearsal. Definitely a good idea. The choir is formed on an ad hoc basis, so it was a group of girls who had mostly not met each other before. The sleepover helped the girls bond, and gave us a chance to do some theatre sports with them too (thanks to the Scouts WA performing arts people who came down to run that bit).

Listening to the Governor of Western Australia

The actual performance went so well! I was so, so proud of them. The conference we were performing at was amazing. I left the day so inspired. If you want to check out what went on that day check out #LeadingWomenConference  on Twitter and Instagram. I was the self appointed Live Tweeter. In addition to being leader-in-charge of the choir, I was also one of the panellists for the discussion panel that finished the day, and I felt I should earn my thank you present as the only Guide speaker at the event. It was a very humbling experience to included in such an amazing line up of women, all leaders, but all from very different fields. My angle was how the skills I have gained from Guiding has helped in my professional life. I have some notes I will write up into a post one day. Even just thinking about it was a valuable experience. Great self-reflection!

Anyway, the next weekend was ANZAC weekend, and we went on camp with our Guides. Not actual camping, but we went to 'Our Barn' in York. It is an indoor "camp" owned by Girl Guides WA and is one of my most favourite places to stay.

Buglet and Tink with the wreath the Guides made the week before

 We went to the ANZAC Dawn Service. The York war memorial is on the top of the hill and the view as the sun rose over the hill was stunning. I didn't take pictures, because I think I would have been inappropriate during the service, but if I ever go back just to watch the sun rise, I will let you know.

Patrol flags

The camp was so much fun. Two of my co-leader (KK and Bee) had organised a fabulous program around a military theme to encompass ANZAC Day and some traditional Guiding activities. The girls' cooked the best damper I have ever tasted, we made pizza on a fire, and KK brought back the biggest marshmallows I have ever seen from a recent trip to the US. We begun the camp with a game of spotlight and I had totally forgotten how much I love running around in the bush at night. Pixie was most annoyed because her shoes were reflective, but I think it is more that her sneaky ninja skills are lacking! There was also a campfire, singing, semaphore, First Aid skills, patrol flags, poppy making craft and lots more. There are lots of posts on my Instagram account if you are interested.

It really was that big. This is not an illusion.

 My final Guiding type weekend was helping QM (cook) for a leadership training weekend. It was a camp skills weekend held on my friends' farms and I took Tink up with me (Buglet and Pixie had dancing). Cowboy and Indian theme! I now own a headdress. I have wanted one for ages.

And that takes us back to the dance concert.

Stay tuned for my next post, explaining why May is the Month of Domestic Goddessing.

Enjoy your last week of autumn (or spring if you are in the Northern Hemisphere ... if you are in the tropics, I have no idea what to wish you but I hope you have a lovely week too!).

PS when proofing this post I re-read the beginning. I want to add (f) started writing and then took over a week to finish.

PPS UPDATE: I forgot to say, this is why Gherkin aka the Cattern aka Pickles was bought home in an army ration box! Buglet brought the box home from camp (she said it was too good to throw away), and it was the perfect size for kitten transporting. It is still Gherkin's bed.

  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am not qualified to give camping advice.
  • I have no idea what is trending in the real world.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Behind the glitz and glamour

So last weekend was a bit of a mix and match weekend.

Thursday night I took the girls to see Midsummer Night's Dream.  It was performed at a high school and it was brilliant! I thoroughly enjoyed it. They used a hexagonal stage so they were performing to five different angles which gave an extra depth from an audience point of view as well as making the performance very intimate, but I imagine made it a little harder from an actor's point of view.

I love cupcakes!

Plus they were serving high tea style food. I had a cupcake. I do love cupcakes.

Then Pixie was sick Friday. Pixie only gets sick once or twice a year, but when she does she is grumpy, tantrumy, miserable and needs lots of cuddles. I managed to work from home for half a day, but I admit the extra sleeping time for me because "I need you to cuddle me and I will cuddle my puppy" was a lovely bonus. You have to find a silver lining even to sickaling babies.

Friday night and Saturday I took Tink camping. I was helping to QM (cook) at a Guide leader training camp. (Apple very nicely kept the other two, even the sickaling one).

I love camping. The stillness, the time-out, the running away from technology, the campfire - it all soothes my soul.

Sitting around a campfire is one of my favourite places to be.
Luckily there was some soul soothing.

Sunday was a showcase performance for dancing. In case you are wondering, our dance school used the term 'showcase' rather than concert because it was a short concert, no costumes, and was a chance for the dancers to show friends and family what they have learnt in term one this year.

(The "no costume" bit was the important part of that last sentence that I would like you to remember for later).
Dance hair. Note the different colours? Much easier to tell them apart now.

I was helping back stage. By "helping" I mean I was in charge of lining everyone up to get on stage, checking shoes, attempting to keep them quiet, bossing around the lovely adult dancers who were helping me and the other mum helper, and dealing with random small children who may or may not know their own name.

No costumes meant less adults needed backstage just in case you were wondering where everyone else was; it was great that most of the parents were able to watch this concert.

In case anyone else finds themselves in this position, I thought I would give you some helpful tips:

  1. Take an emergency kit (ie bandaids, needle and thread, bobby pins, hair ties).
  2. Learn to sew so you can use the needle and thread for emergency costume repairs (or find out who backstage can sew).
  3. Take needle and thread out of your bag after the concert (otherwise you may prick yourself and bleed everywhere at an inopportune moment).
  4. Hair ties are amazingly useful for shortening leotard straps to avoid "flashing".
  5. Small children may not know their own name.
  6. Small children may not know what class they are in or who they are in that class with.
  7. It is highly likely most of the small children will not know the name of the song.
  8. After making realisations 5 to 6 you will be cursing the lack of costumes. When they are dressed the same they are easy to match (like dominos).
  9. It is helpful to have street cred when working with small children ("Guess what?! I am Miss Buglet's mummy" works wonders for me).
  10. Find the one small child who actually will talk to you and knows people's names to be your sidekick. Chances are they will be right.
  11. It is possible to organise large numbers of children while carrying a crying toddler on your hip. 
  12. Be confident when you give directions. Children smell fear and indecision.
  13. Know your dance teacher so you know what goes. I know I can tell kids "I promise your hair/shoes/costume/makeup will be ok, the main thing is to smile and have fun", because I know that is the ethos of the school.
  14. Take a pen. Make notes.
  15. Double check the list before so you know what is going on.
  16. Check to see how sound proof the room is. This time I hadn't realised how little soundproofing was between the room we were in and the audience.
  17. Clapping a rhythm is a good way to silence the room (if you haven't seen this done, basically you clap a rhythm and they clap it back. Lots of teachers use it, we don't use it a Guides because we have a not-so-secret be quiet signal).
  18. Glitter is awesome, but check your commitments for the next week before applying liberally. 
  19. Enjoy the moment to be part of the team. These sort of events don't happen without all the cast and crew. 
Job done for another few months! Now back to cruisey dance nights of knitting, reading and writing.

  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am not qualified to give dance advice, or theatre advice of any type.
  • I am not qualified to give professional advice.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.

Friday, 1 May 2015

It's a girl!!!

We got a new addition to our family this week.

What's in the box?

I spy with my little eye ...

I am here! Love me!

Meet Pickles Primrose .... to be known on the blog as 'Gherkin'. (Tink gave her both her real first name and her blog name).


Why does a kitten need a blog name? When I started the blog DB insisted that I use aliases for the girls. The Pixie insisted that the puppy needed a blog name too. You may be relieved that the dog is not actually called 'Flip-Flop'!

Why does the kitten have a middle name? When we got Flip-Flop (real name 'Alice Sally') she had a middle name and a surname. We kept her full name and tacked our family surname (aka the girls' and DB's surname on the end). The kitten therefore needed a middle name too.

Who's surname does the kitten have? She has my surname and then the girls' surname. This gives her four names like the girls and Flip-Flop (and me when I use my married surname as well as my own which I do sometimes!)

Do you realise it is weird that your pets have four names? Yes. What about my life makes us seem normal?

Where did Gherkin come from? The girls' grandad (DB's dad) rescued a kitten who had kittens of her own. We adopted this one.

How is Flip-Flop coping? Flip-Flop is besotted with the kitten. She just wants to love her and lick her. The kitten is tolerating this quite nicely.

Meeting her sister.
Pixie is not coping too well with Flip-Flop's obsession with the kitten. I am sure she will get over it. I anticipate that the three of them will be inseparable in due course.

Pixie is home sick today and was a bit miserable that Flip-Flop wanted to lick the kitten rather than snuggling with her. I am hoping a day at home with all three of them (Pixie and the pets) will help solve any jealousy issues.

Totally besotted!
There is one question that I haven't answered. Did anyone notice that we brought her home in a rations box? If not, something to ponder on until my next post!

Happy Friday everyone!

  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am not qualified to give pet advice.
  • No kittens, puppies or children have been harmed in the making of this blog.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.