Sunday, 22 September 2013

A new book genre: the ‘big family’ genre

When I was a kid, I loved reading books about big messy families.  Being an only child, it was a window into a life I would never have and one that I yearned for.  Now I look back, I unconsciously gravitated towards friends who had big families.  I loved getting to stay over at their houses and feeling like one of the kids.

I think I liked the idea of having a ready-made gang to go on adventures with.  One of the families I was friends with, they had a huge garden which backed onto farmland and I remember we would just wander out into the countryside with their dog and spend the whole day exploring.  It was like stepping into a novel for me!

Here are some of my favourite ‘big family’ (yes, it’s a genre!!) books.

The “What Katy Did” series by Susan Coolidge

I had to google these ones.  I had an idea in my head that it involved a large family but I couldn’t remember exactly- and yes it does!  I really adored Katy and her adventures.  Despite being written in 1872, Katy was relatable and I loved the journey her character goes on.

“Seven Little Australians” by Ethel Turner

This is Katy’s Australian counterpart.  This story has more than a few similarities.  I remember harbouring quite a crush on the older brother, Pip :)  This story follows seven (Australian) children in their adventures around their house and estate wonderfully called Misrule.  It is honestly such a fantastic book- but is seared into my young mind as having the most traumatic thing to ever happen in any book ever.  The ending is a tearjerker to say the least.  At least if you read it, you will be forewarned.  Just picture little 10 year old Laura reading a cute book about children having fun, not aware that something awful will happen at the end of the book, and then BAM!  Definitely a life changer!

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis

Whilst not a large family by the standards of the previous books, the Pevensie children do hold a special place in my heart.  Unlike the other children who had adventures around their house, the Pevensie children went on adventures in another world!  I spent many hours in Narnia, by reading the books and indulging in some INTENSE make-believe sessions.

The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton

I really loved these books, mainly because I saw a lot of myself in the character of George.  She was an only child who got to be part of a family bunch of crime-solving kids.  And she had a dog.  And whilst I wasn’t as much of a tomboy as her, I certainly wasn’t going to be stuck doing the dishes like old Anne!

(I now really want to re-read Famous Five books and drink lashings of ginger beer whilst I do so)

Can you think of any “big family” genre books that I missed that I might like?  There is one omission in my mind: Little Women.  I just couldn’t get into that book at ALL.  The movie with Winona Ryder and Christian Bale is FANTASTIC though!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Productive Day Today??

I read this article a few days ago and the title is “How to move forward, even when your brain hates you”.  I’ve been feeling a bit blargh recently.  At work, I don’t have two days off together.  I originally loved that idea, having my days off spread around, but now- it’s hard, guys!!  The weekend is a great chance to have one day off to chill and one day off to do all your chores.  With just the one day off, it’s hard to actually DO things.  Work has been so stressful that I have wanted to do absolutely nothing on my days off, which means I have had about four weeks of not getting anything accomplished on my days off which has led to an unhappy Laura.

One part of the article suggested making something so that even if you’re feeling crap, you can do something and have something to show for it.  I liked that idea and have had a few recipe ideas saved that I wanted to try out so I thought this would be a good chance to go for it.

I realised that this would make an excellent blog post.  I was like “wow, everyone’s gonna be so jealous of my amazing food that I made”.  However, the food had other plans.  I’m usually quite good at cooking but today, not so much…

Exhibit A


Sweet potato fries with avocado dip. 

More like charcoal fries with avocado dip.  I only ended up eating about half because it really was like eating charcoal.  In my defence, I’m house sitting and using an unfamiliar oven.  The dip looks gross but was freaking amazing!  Half an avocado, some cottage cheese and a dash of lime juice.  YUM!!  So that kinda made up for it.

Exhibit B

Next up were Nanaimo bars.  These are a Canadian treat that I discovered a few years ago thanks to a Canadian friend.  They are the BEST.  Like, the BEST!!  They might actually be my favourite sweet thing ever.

They’re supposed to look like this:


(Via here)

Mine however came out like this…


And that was the best square I had!  Every layer just went wrong.  However, the middle layer (which is basically icing sugar, butter and a dash of custard powder) still tastes AMAZING and is what sets the treat apart so I guess it’s ok.  I had wanted to take it into work with me, but it’s so embarrassing I don’t think I will!  It’s not so much that it looks so crummy, it also doesn’t taste as good as it should.  It’s about a 6/10 and Nanaimo bars are normally a 11/10 so like, it’s good but not great.  Plus the base just falls apart when you take the first bite. 

So I made stuff, but it didn’t go well.  Not sure what that says about me but at least I did stuff.

No word of a lie, as I typed that last sentence that was supposed to be the conclusion, I realised that I did NOT do my washing which includes the clothes I need to wear tomorrow for work!  Oh dear…

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Self portrait

Whilst everyone always has someone glamorous hiding in their family tree, my relative of infamy is Oliver Cromwell.  You might not know who he is unless you’re from the UK.  He was a military leader and the leader of the uprising against the Royal family and resulting English Civil War.  He then became Lord Protector and “ruled” for a few years before he died.  He’s more than a tad controversial (he shut down all the theatres in London, made everyone dress like puritans and basically committed genocide in Ireland) but he’s my claim to fame.

Anyway, the point of the story is Oliver Cromwell was one of the first rulers ever to have a true likeness painted of them, instead of the usual flattery.  Apparently the phrase “warts and all” is attributed to him because he told the painter to capture him as he truly was.

Oliver Cromwell- warts and all
Hi there, great-great-great- ad infinitum- uncle!

And then this is me.
I tried to make sure I got the family lock of hair and furrowed brow.

NB: It took several selfies to get a picture that I was happy to put up on the internet.  I don’t think Ollie would be impressed.  Vanity was one of the things he detested.  Hopefully his brother (who I’m actually descended from) was a bit more chill.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Personality Quiz

Because Abigail demanded it, here is another blog.  I was prompted by Jenni’s Blogtember for this blog post.  If left to my own devices, I would probably just whine about work and no one wants to hear that.

So for this post, I went to this page and did a short personality quiz.  The results came back that I was an ISFJ.  I was very strongly introverted but the others came back around the 50-40% mark. 

It’s interesting to note (well maybe just to me!) that I used to be an INFP.  And now I am an ISFJ.  The last time I did one of these, I was in high school so it’s almost ten years ago that I did it and I guess we all change.

However, I can’t imagine ever changing from an introvert to an extrovert!  The ‘F’ part has also stayed the same.  This means that when I have to make a decision I will take into account the feelings of myself and other people, as opposed to what is best logically.  And apparently the ‘feeling’ vs ‘thinking’ aspect plays a big part in your career choice. 

The ‘sensing’ over ‘intuition’ part has changed though.  I would definitely agree that I prefer to look at concrete facts and what is happening NOW when processing things rather than trust a hunch or look at the bigger picture.  Although this mark came back as 50% so I guess I could swing either way :)

And apparently I like to ‘judge’ now rather than ‘perceive’.  This means that I prefer to have things ordered and structured rather than spontaneous and flexible.  I would like to think that I was open to being spontaneous though!  I definitely think that I have had to change this aspect of my personality due to work.  I have to be very organised and everything must be structured- although trust me when I say this does not come naturally to me!! 

And ISFJ people tend to gravitate towards certain jobs such as nursing.  So there you go!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Blogtember- Day 1

Linking up with Jenni to do her Blogtember.  This prompt was ‘Tuesday, Sept. 3: Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are’.

It’s actually something I’ve been thinking about fairly recently, the idea of where I come from.  I grew up travelling because of my dad’s job.  To make a very long story short, I was born in New Zealand, lived there for the first five years of my life, moved to Bahrain, lived there for three years, moved to England just before my eighth birthday and moved to Australia just before my 16th.

So you can see why I have somewhat of an identity crisis.  Australia and New Zealand have a “friendly” rivalry.  I use the term “friendly” in inverted comments because sometimes I think people go a little too overboard on the Aus vs NZ rivalry.  When people find out I’m not Australian, someone else will usually pipe up “oh, she’s from New Zealand” and the jokes begin.  And technically I am, you can’t fault them.  But I don’t feel it.  I left when I was five and who remembers much of what happened in the first five years of their life?


(The view from my dad’s place who is now living in NZ again)

In my head, I identify very strongly with England.  I like its history, its culture, I even have a soft spot for its crappy weather (she writes whilst it is currently gloriously sunny and warm outside!).  I get their sense of humour and their pop culture references.  I really “get” England in a way I will never get New Zealand.  I did most of my growing up there, I went through my moody teens there.  And even now after twelve years in Australia, I still ‘think’ in English: music videos, not film clips or chips, not hot chips.  (If you’re not Australian, just ignore that last part!).


However, there is now a definite part of me that is “Australian”.  I lost my English accent in about six months so there’s no mistaking what part of the world I now live in.  When I travel, I have no problem saying I’m from Australia.  I think Australia has a pretty decent reputation.  Yes, we’re known for drinking and being obnoxiously loud but I think if you spent any amount of time with me, you’d see that’s not a part of who I am.  I think Australians are also known for being laidback and willing to help someone out, and that’s certainly something I can stand for.


Who knows where I will end up later on and if another country will play a part in making up my very mixed up identity!