#mwf2018

MELB STAR

Today's indulgence was an afternoon at our fantastic Melbourne Writers' Festival. Stop #1: Leigh Sales in conversation with a cast of eminent writers and actors - Lachy Hulme, Tony Martin, Jan Sardi and Samantha Winston. Dynamic, informative and entertaining dialogue. A rewarding escape from the busyness of life and the current disheartening nonsense of our Australian political landscape. 

Finished the day with a ride on Melbourne Star, taking in the spectacular views.

Looking to do something great for yourself? Head down to this years' #mwf

Dragon's Nest

DRAGONS NEST1DRAGONS NEST2
Winter tomorrow, so the brief respite from the late autumn rain provided the perfect morning for a hike through our local forests, up here in the spectacular hills of Victoria's Dandenong Ranges. The sun cast its misty rays through the tall trees, creating that gentle ethereal feel of a fairy forest. So it was a special kind of delight to stumble upon the Dragon's Nest, tucked away deep within.

#gottaloveadragon

#neverknowwhatyoullfindintheforest

Tongariro Adventure
TONGARIRO1
Gotta love New Zealand! It truly is the singular place on Earth one can go to experience every kind of adventure and clime on the planet. This March I have been lucky enough to spend a little time in New Zealand's north island, where I traversed and conquered the Tongariro Crossing—a spectacular range of alpine volcanoes, which also boasts the peaks of Mt. Tongariro and Mt. Ngauruhoe, aka Mt. Doom of The Lord of the Rings fame.

A dedicated training regime in recent months prepared us well for the steep ascents, beginnning at 1100m and reaching 1886m at the Crossing's summit, where we picnicked in the sun with a cheeky brew TONGARIRO2of real coffee. Icy blasts in the lower reaches gave way to perfect sunshine and breathtaking views at the top. At the end of the 19.4km trek we enjoyed that sublimely gratifying rest that follows such exhilarating pursuits. 

A highly recommended addition to the bucket list, especially when shared with best company.

Another diamond day!

Summer indulgence...

SUMMER READINGAaahhhh, summer! Now that Christmas and New Year are over, the time for self-indulgence has finally arrived. Long summer days to relax and read. Here is my summer reading stack. Have just finished Mary Ann Shaffer’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – this would have to be the most delightful book I think I have ever read. A big statement, I know. A friend recently recommended it, then while visiting Great Escapes Bookshop in Airey’s Inlet last week, it jumped out at me and I was gone! Picked it up and began reading immediately, and way too soon it was all over. It’s a rare gem that you just can’t put down, slowing down as you near the final pages because you can see the end coming and you are overcome with the desire to push the inevitable conclusion out so the pleasure can continue. That’s a rare talent indeed, as authors go. I remember the same joy when, as a child of around 12 years old, I picked up Sheila Burnford’s The Incredible Journey – I began in bed one night and didn’t get up the next morning until I’d finished it. Two absolute treasures for someone who is addicted to animals, reading and historical fiction. For me, historical fiction set in WWII is the magnet, and so The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was a perfect hit. Both of my parents weathered the war in Holland as young children, and I find myself constantly drawn to and immersed in this period of history, trying to understand how their experiences affected and shaped them – so much so that it has become the subject of some of my own writing.
     But for now, loving the quiet time.
     Better get on with it!

The year of working differently!

2017-2018End of year affords us time for reflection on the year that was. For me, 2017 began with anticipation about risks one cannot afford not to take. Just over a year ago I took the leap of leaving my regular employment in favour of some timely flexibility with the aim of improving that ubiquitously challenging life/work balance. Plenty of opportunities presented themselves and I was mindful to take note when they did.

It's been a fabulous year, filled with plenty of wonderful time back in the classroom, some intensive writing projects, a big bucket-list travel adventure and that most important precious family time, with evenings available for family instead of work. I've affectionately dubbed it my 'year of working differently'. It really has been one of those life-changing choices that leaves you grateful for the combination of good fortune and happy risk-taking that has befallen you.

2017 has been so rewarding on so many levels that my new year's resolution is to install 2018 as another year of working differently. Bring it on!

Happy New Year, everyone.... make it great!