Archive for the ‘Precious Thots’ Category

On This Day…

Monday, November 17th, 2014

I have just had a quick skim read of my blog posts on and around the 17 November in 2010/11/12/13 and it has made me quite pleased that I write all of this random drivel and chuck it into big bad world of THE INTERNET. So what was I up to, I hear you ask with excitement and vigour? Well!

In 2010, I was in Sydney applying for my first travel/work visa to go to France. These were exciting times as I suddenly had permission to go and live in my favourite city in the world and I was in Sydney eating cheese with my best friend, Gill. What more could a girl ask for?

In 2011, I was writing 50,000 words in one month for NaNoWriMo (a task I managed to successfully complete) and I had tripped over whilst running along the Canal Saint Martin in Paris, horrendously injuring my knees. Or at least, that’s how I made it seem.

In 2012, I was eating cake and enjoying Beaujoulais Nouveau in Paris while attending exhibition openings that I made a small appearance in. Ooh la la!

In 2013, I had recently met the Queen. That’s how I roll.

So that’s not bad really. Not bad at all.

Web Content Overload

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

For the past few weeks I have been spending a lot of time looking for writing opportunities and exploring the big-bad-world of THE INTERNET. I have become somewhat horrified by the excessive nature of web content and the number of sites that exist purely for people to write “SEO articles” to increase user traffic to their websites. I realise that as a copywriter I should be joining this bandwagon and writing articles about how to avoid procrastination as a freelancer, why SEO is important, or perhaps how to “Smoke a can of tuna with toilet paper.” You know, important stuff. But I just can’t – it hurts too much and there are already enough people writing exactly the same things, quoting exactly the same people and raising exactly the same points. I wouldn’t be bringing anything new to the table.

My search for writing work has taken me down some dark and torturous paths, mostly involving websites advertising freelance writing jobs at ridiculously low prices. There are bidding wars for who will complete the jobs for the lowest price. Write twenty 500-word articles for £20 – at an hour per article, that’s £1 per hour. Who is actually willing to do that and why are they making it hard for all of us to make a decent living?

Perhaps I am lazy for not participating in this battle but I am not willing to accept that my industry and my own professional skills are worth so little. Copywriters are often the first to be taken out of a creative project when budgets are restricted because ‘everyone can write.’ Perhaps, but not everyone can write well. So I am continuing on my search for exciting, positive and creative projects where people are wanting to produce beautifully crafted work. I know there are other people who feel the same way – let’s create our own band wagon. Ours will have streamers and novelty horns.

A Touch of Poetry

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

I have never been a huge reader of poetry, mostly due to the overbearing nature in which poems were forced upon me at High School. Plus I often find the use of language in poetry to be over the top and trying too be more impressive than it really is. I feel I should read more poetry because that’s what literary people do but every time I try I give up quickly. Unless they are Spike Milligan nonsense poems which I can devour en masse.

So imagine my surprise and pleasure at the fact that I have just spent part of my evening curled up on my couch reading poems written by young West Australian poet, Zoe Taylor. I met Zoe at Curtin University when, as a graduate, I agreed to be her ‘mentor’ as she was studying the degree that I had completed. I wasn’t much of a mentor and mostly encouraged Zoe to just have fun and consider travelling. But I do like to feel somewhat responsible for the fact that she is now a far more accomplished writer than me and that her name is on a published book.

Stroke by Zoe Taylor

Stroke by Zoe Taylor

Ok it isn’t me at all – Zoe has a natural talent for writing and her poems are short bursts of youthful insight into life, love and death. The overall maturity of her writing solidifies her punchy and engaging voice, each poem drawing you into the story. I felt my skin react to the horrifying outcome of a son finding his father dead in Stroke, fell in love with the lustful romance between Abel and Ruth, and felt a strong connection with the failed affair of Y = X. What amazed me most was how engaged I felt with each of Zoe’s poems and my desire to read on further. I was always going to read them, but I was overwhelmingly impressed at how beautiful Zoe’s writing is.

Zoe was selected to be part of the New Voices mentorship program and you can purchase her book, Stroke, from Express Media and I believe some bookshops.

Discovering the Mysteries of Vernacular

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Last night I discovered a lovely series of animated videos on the TED-Ed website, the educational offshoot of TED talks. These two-minute videos offer insights into the Mysteries of Vernacular or where certain words come from. The chosen words include ‘Odd’, ‘Window’ and ‘Gorgeous’, with one of my particular favourites being ‘Fizzle’. The videos have been made by Jessica Oreck (good name) and Rachael Teel and are informative, funny and beautifully put together. Have a look-see.

Hands Off My Croquembouche

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

I have always thought my brother is a bit of a genius and have often had little sister jealousy over his ability to be brilliant at EVERYTHING he tries. At school he was always the smart one – he won all of the awards, he was good at maths AND art, and he was loved by all the teachers and students. He has studied various degrees (and been good at ALL of them) and has now moved to England where he is studying artisan baking – the ultimate mix of mathematical precision and artistic flair. He is, of course, doing very well at it.

And while part of me is jealous that once again he has found something he’s freakishly good at, this skill I have been able to benefit from in the form of delicious, delicious baked goods. Mmm… food. Ben met me at Dubai airport on our way home to Perth with a large bag of crumbs which, a few hours earlier, had been chocolate biscuits. I can tell you that there is nothing more satisfying than standing in the middle of Dubai airport at 2 o’clock in the morning stuffing your face with chocolate crumbs. We may have looked like drug addicts eating weird powdery goods from a plastic bag, but it was worth getting arrested over.

And that was just the start – the real treat came for Grandma’s birthday when Ben decided he would attempt the impossible by making a croquembouche (a profiterole tower) in a kitchen he had never been to, in a hotel chalet at the Bunker Bay resort. INSANITY.

Ben baking

I don’t think this kitchen had ever been used for any sort of real cooking up until now.

I volunteered myself as sous-chef and was given the task of finding a round object about the size of a 20 cent coin to then trace circles on baking paper for Ben to pipe regular sized choux pastry balls. Luckily, I have a collection of oversized red rings, one of which was the perfect shape. I was fulfilling my role as sous-chef well so far. A much harder task was to sit for 35 minutes watching a chocolate cake bake in my cousin’s chalet, inhaling wafts of delicious 70% dark chocolate smells as the cake rose and my mouth filled with saliva. That was just cruel.

Ben had never built a croquembouche before and so there was an element of “Is this going to work”? for a majority of the morning. However, as I carefully selected each profiterole based on size and shape, handed them to Ben and he then dipped them in molten sugar and stuck them all together, the miracle of Grandma’s-90th-Birthday came to be. The sugar hardened, the profiteroles stuck together and the tower of goodness came to be.

Croquembouche

Adding the final sugary touch

Standing back and watching Ben create this tower was really exciting. Not only was it amazing that the tower didn’t fall over, but the skill and precision Ben used to create the croquembouche meant that the end result was beautiful and looked professionally crafted. So this time, I wasn’t so much jealous of Ben’s skills but proud of the fact that it was MY BROTHER who had made such a wonderful birthday cake for his 90-year old Grandmother. And that I was going to get to eat it.

Birthday cake

Oh cake. I love you.

Ben is almost at the end of his baking course and is currently planning on establishing a bakery with a fellow student in Sheffield. Looks like I’ll be making many trips to England for free baked goods.

Percival the Pig

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

My friend, sewing-and-cooking inspiration, and ex-boss, Claire, recommended I read a book she had recently read with her children. Yes, at the wee-ages of two and four they are slightly younger than me but I feel we have similar interests when it comes to well-written and beautiful illustrated children’s books. The ABC Menagerie by M.H. Clark and Elena V. Targioni is a book for everyone – it is so beautiful, funny and heartwarming that even robots would feel emotions while reading it.

ABC Menagerie

ABC Menagerie - image from LiveInspired

Each page of the book introduces a new animal and their particular habits and the rhyming text is accompanied by a photograph of a felt/material version of the creature. Similar to my sock creatures, these guys are slightly odd and always have something ‘different’ about them. There are many amazing personalities and the creatures themselves are so wonderfully crafted that you feel like you could reach into the page and pat them.

abc menagerie

Jesenia the Jaguar – image from LiveInspired

I thought I would share the text from one of the pages as I currently feel like this animal. Last night I went for dinner with friends at Le Jardin D’en Face and ate far too much and therefore wish I had the same release mechanisms as this guy:

Percival the Pig

Percival’s dinners are rich and gourmet,
with plenty of chocolate éclairs.
Whenever he’s had one too many that day,
his safety valves let out the air.

Buy and read this book. No matter what age you are, it will make you smile. Thanks for the recommendation, Claire.

Mural Magic

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

It is nice to see my friends doing awesome things. Miles Noel is a guy who went to school with my brother, peeled italian sausages with me at a terrible pizza restaurant in Perth and is generally super cool. He is also a painter and is growing his collection and presence within the Australian art scene. He recently did a mural on a wall in Angove Street, North Perth for the local festival and has released this time lapse video of his work. Very exciting stuff. Love it.

“Good Things Come Out of Incomprehension”

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Today I discovered Maira Kalman, an illustrator and author who has a carefree and positive aspect on life, work and happiness. I watched her give a TED talk and felt particularly inspired by her easy and simple way of working. Her comment, “Good things come out of incomprehension” stuck with me as I often feel myself feeling particularly stupid and lacking knowledge when really it isn’t necessarily my fault that I don’t know the political history of a certain country or the entire work collection of an 18th century author. Her illustrations are funny yet reflective of the real world. You should check her out.

Happy Extra Day!

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

It’s the 29th of February! There is something exciting about having an additional day in the year and I am pleased that February gets to catch up to those other months with their larger number of days. Poor February misses out three quarters of the time. Pauvre Février. I’m sure there will be lots of girls dropping to their knees on top of the Eiffel Tower today as they grab the opportunity to snare themselves a husband. Don’t climb any towers today, boys.

All Smiles

Monday, February 20th, 2012

It has come to my attention over the past few weeks being back in Perth, that Australians (at least those in Perth or country Western Australia) are 300 million times friendlier than the folk of Paris. I’m not saying you can’t find friendly people in Paris, because that is one of those awful stereotypes about the French that just isn’t true. I have met some wonderful French people who have made my life in Paris very special. However, on your average day in Paris, you don’t often have random conversations and laughs with people you meet. In Perth you do.

While in Denmark, I had numerous occasions where I sat back and thought, “Whoa… they were so friendly…” and needed to take a few moments to comprehend the situation. A visit to a bottle shop to buy some wine involved a particularly helpful manager who chatted about the wine we were buying, suggested other options and wished us a really great stay in Denmark. Cheers, mate! Then when Velia, Alex and I had dinner at Pepper & Salt, once again we were served by some of the easiest, most relaxed and generally chirpy people that I have met in a long time. It is lovely and refreshing to be surrounded by people who have smiles on their faces and appear to be enjoying what they are doing. I do get a bit sick of having a cup of coffee dumped on my table with a Parisian sigh and a negative attitude. Maybe it is the sunshine and warm weather, but Australians do tend to have a lighter, brighter way of being. I have to say it makes me proud to be part of a cheery nation. Cheer up, Madames et Monsieurs. La vie est belle.