Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blogiversaries, Problogger and bloggity bloggingness

Three years. Three years I've been doing this blogging thing. Happy blogiversary to me!

It started with a 'just do it'-style note to myself, and was followed the next day with an imperfect dictionary experience. And that was it. I was off and running.

Or off and typing. Same same.

I posted daily lessons to begin with (hence the YLSNED name), covering everything from garden gnomes to volleyball, from baboon diets to giraffe noises, from the cocoa content of white chocolate to Keith Urban's true nationality.

Compelling stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Then I moved on to more personal posts. I (officially) let go of the lesson format this time last year. I started blogging about whatever I wanted, which has fallen into a natural pattern of renovation posts, song rewrites, personal reflection, book reviews (for little people and big people alike) and chocolate.

I've even occasionally shared some family pics.


Three years. In three years, this blog has become more important to me than I would ever have predicted. I've developed my writing voice. I've found my blogging mojo. I've learnt things. I've embraced (at least some forms of) social media, which will be crucial when (if) I make my way back into the corporate marketing world.

I've even made a little bit of money (but don't worry, kids - I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon). And I've made friends. And those two things (and many more) are why I'm so excited to be heading to the Problogger conference this weekend.


I will be learning about the ins and outs of blogging. SM, SEO, UV, USP, OMG, WTF? I'll be learning about making my blog heard, making a difference, and maybe making a proper go of this blogging thing. Or at least using this blogging thing to contribute to whatever my future career may be.
And I will be meeting friends, most for the first time. I've done my research - I know which ones don't like to be hugged, and I know which ones I'll leap on as soon as I spot them. I have a list of bloggers longer than my arm that I want to thank for sharing their words with the world. I hope to tick off at least a quarter of them.

What better way to celebrate three years of YLSNEDding? (Yes, I verbed YLSNED. Three years in, I think it's worth verbing.)

Are you going to Problogger? What are you hoping to learn?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I took the kids to the park recently, and this is what we saw.

What I saw: a slight incline to the swings.
What my son saw: a rise that required complicated navigation including walking, standing, sitting, crawling, standing again and walking. And applauding his own efforts.

What I saw: climbing discs set a short step out from the playground.
What my daughter saw: climbing discs set very far from the playground, and very high up, requiring a huge leap (and an incredible feat of bravery).

What I saw: some balls on poles.
What my son saw: coloured balls as big as his head set at the perfect height to play with.

What I saw: a filthy plastic bubble.
What my daughter saw: a magical window whose curved surface altered what she saw, and through which she could pull funny faces at everyone.

What we all saw: some clouds.
What we all also saw: a fire-breathing dragon.

What do you see in these pictures?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Liebster love

I got a lovely little surprise in my inbox a few weeks ago - the delightful Jodi (JF Gibson) nominated me for a Liebster Award! Thank you so much, Jodi!

The Liebster Award recognises awesome blogs, and is essentially the blog version of a chain letter. You answer questions from your nominator, then ask more and pass it on to other blogs that you adore.

So here are the ten questions Jodi asked of me. And my answers. Because that's kind of the point.


1. Are you a dog or a cat person?

Dog. Cats are pure evil.

2. Who inspires you?

Forgive the sappiness, but my mum. She's warm, funny, caring and loving. She has done so much for me, and I'm only really beginning to understand it all. When something needs to be done, she just gets in and does it. And... well, that's enough sappiness for what is supposed to be a short, sharp answer. Love your guts, mum.

3. What is your favourite childhood memory?

A family holiday to Apollo Bay when I was twelve years old.

4. Where is your dream holiday destination?

Vienna. I generally don't have the international travel bug, but Vienna is definitely on the bucket list.

5. Worst movie you’ve ever seen?

Edmond. *shudders at the memory*

6. Which celebrity would you like to be your BFF?

Maggie Gyllenhaal. (You rock, Maggie. Love your work. By the way, can you introduce me to your brother?)

7. First CD/album you bought with your own money?

Frogstomp or Smash. Or Hit Machine 6. I was cool with a capital NOT.

8. What’s your favourite sound?

SILENCE. (I may or may not be typing this after a particularly trying day filled with kids' screams and The Wiggles on repeat.)

9. If you could be any fictional character from a book or movie, who would you be?

I was so excited about this question when I read it! And now I just don't know. My favourite books and movies tend not to have happy endings, so I'll think about this and come back to it.

10. You have a guilt-free full day of ‘me time’. All the housework and cooking is done for you, the kids are off with Dad/Grandma/friends for the day, and work is up to date. How would you spend it?

Wow. A whole day? Really?! It would be some heady combination of sleeping, eating chocolate, writing, playing piano, seeing friends, getting a massage, and getting, ahem, busy in the bedroom with my gorgeous man. Or Jake Gyllenhaal. Same same.

9. (attempt 2)

I would like to be Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. She goes an a big journey, makes lifelong friends, unmasks a conman, defeats evil, learns that she holds the power to her own destiny, and wears such pretty shoes while doing it.

Oh, and there really is no place like home.


So here's the passing on the love bit. I'm to nominate ten fabulously talented bloggers and ask them ten uniquely fascinating questions. Or something like that. Here are the bloggers, in no particular order:

Colours of Sunset
Mummy, Wife, Me
Have a Laugh on Me
With Some Grace
Maxabella loves...
Redcliffe Style
Clairey Hewitt

Your mission, should you choose to accept it ladies, is to answer the following questions, then ask ten more of ten more bloggers (be they ladies or other). Simple, no?

1. What's your favourite chocolate flavour?
2. What song do you play to get you in the mood for a party?
3. What's the funniest/strangest way you've ever injured yourself?
4. What do you like best about yourself?
5. What do you wish you were better at?
6. How do you cheer yourself up when you're glum?
7. Who was your first celebrity crush?
8. What is your favourite book, (and who is your favourite author - did they write it?)?
9. Whats wrong with this sentence?
10. Why did the chicken cross the road?

Enjoy. And I understand that some (all?) of you have been nominated before, so no hard feelings if you don't play along. I've certainly been guilty of that before!


Happy Liebster to everyone! (Cue confetti and balloons falling from the ceiling.) How would you answer the questions above?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Children's book review - August

Welcome to August's children's book review! Back to the library, and back home with another collection of books for Ashleigh (4), Mitchell (1) and, let's face it, for me too!

Here are our thoughts.


I, Trixie, Who is Dog / Dean Koontz and Janet Cleland

Image source

This is a cute little homage to a beloved family pet. The dog narrates, but she flips between not knowing proper grammar and sentence construction (see title) and getting it so perfectly right with obscure words that you think the dog is a genius. This annoys me no end, but the kids don't mind. And that's the point, isn't it?

The illustrations are cute. The little doggy whimsies - skunks that suck at playing the banjo, coyotes working in cactus cafes - are cute. It's all very cute, cute, cute. I think Trixie is (or was) a wonderful dog.


I am Cow, Hear Me Moo / Jill Esbaum and Gus Gordon

Image source

This is another reader recommendation, and it's another winner.

Nadine the cow is not afraid of anything. She boasts about everything she's not afraid of, including the woods, and the other cows can't wait to see her go in. She's nervous, but hides it... and is delighted to discover the woods are fun!

And then the sun sets. It's night-time in the woods. And Nadine can't find her friends. This book is adorable. And it rhymes the whole way through - really clever rhymes, without missing a single rhythmic beat. Perfection.


Books Always Everywhere / Jane Blatt and Sarah Massini

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We really enjoy reading this book about books. Books for all sorts of activities and moods, books of every description: big, small, wide, tall, scary, funny, rainy and sunny.

This book is for the young. Ashleigh is beyond needing it, but still enjoys it. And Mitchell just can't get enough. He's understanding more words every day, and after a few reads of this book, I started doing some actions to the different sentences. Now he beats me to them.


I'm the Best / Lucy Cousins

Image source

We LOVE I'm the Best. Dog is the best at everything. He's better than Donkey at swimming. He's better than Goose at digging. He's better than Mole at running.

Then he discovers that others can do these things faster. Better. An adorable tale of confidence, appreciation, friendship... and competitiveness. Of course.


What books have you read with your children lately?

You can read other children's book reviews here:

Children's book review (July)
Children's book review - reader recommendations (June)
Children's book review (May)
Children's book review (April)
Children's book review (March)
Children's book review (February)
Children's book review (January)
Children's book review (December 2013)
Children's book review - family favourites (November 2013)
Children's book review (October 2013)
Once upon a book review (September 2013)