February & March: In My Secret Life

February & March: In My Secret Life
February & March: In My Secret Life

What’s been happening

Well, what a hectic couple of months it’s been! The last time I posted was back in January when my fiancee and I were frantically packing up our lives in Toronto and getting ready to travel for 6 weeks and move back to Sydney permanently at the end of it. We got back in mid-March, but we’ve been so busy since we landed I haven’t had time to sit down and think about blogging until now. I think the easiest way to cover everything is to do it in point form, so here we go!

Our trip

Mark and I had an incredible time travelling around Mexico and the US for six weeks in Feb/March. We did, saw and ate so many things and spent time with some really lovely people (as well as each other) and I'm so glad we decided to do it as part of our move back to Sydney. Although it was definitely bittersweet leaving behind our lives in Canada (I had a big cry as we were leaving our apartment for the last time and heading to the airport) it's been so nice catching up with our family and friends since we've been back. I only shot film photos during our trip and I haven't gotten around to sorting through them just yet, but I'm hoping to do that pretty soon so I can put together some posts about our time away. I think I may only end up posting about Mexico as that's where I took the most photos, but maybe I’ll do one collective one about all the places we visited in the US too.

Our arrival

The night we were due to arrive there was a huge storm right when we were supposed to land. Sydney airport was closed, so our plane was diverted to Melbourne airport instead. Although we were tired and just wanted to see our families and go home to bed, the silver lining of being stuck in the wrong city for a night meant that we got to see one of my besties who lives in Melbourne as she let us spend the night with her. I don't know what we would have done otherwise as the airline didn't offer us anything or have any staff around to give us instructions on the night. Luckily we submitted a complaint to them and they reimbursed us for the new flight we booked in order to get home the following day, but it was definitely an eventful experience that I don't particularly care to repeat.

February & March: In My Secret Life

Since we’ve been back

It’s honestly taken about three or four weeks for us to get over our jet-lag, but we’re finally there! Things have been so busy since we’ve been back though. We've already been to two weddings, one of which was in the Hunter Valley, so Mark's family and I spent a long weekend there just after we got back and it was so lovely. My brother and his wife have welcomed their second baby, a girl named Florence who I call Fairy Floss, and we met their son Bobby, who is my nephew and godson for the first time as he was born while we were away. Mark's sister and her husband also have a baby girl who has grown a lot since we left - she's nearly two and they've got another one on the way, so there are babies everywhere! In all honesty I'm not a baby person (I don't plan on ever having children), but I'm surprised by how into my nieces and nephews I am, they're so fucking cute! I mean, they're exhausting after a couple of hours and I flatly refuse to learn how to change their nappies because that's just not for me, but as soon as we met them Mark and I loved them instantly. It really is different when they're your family. (Still not having kids tho.)

Aside from catching up with family and friends, which we have done a lot of, we’ve also been applying for jobs and going for interviews. In fact, Mark just accepted a job offer today which is super exciting! We never bothered to qualify for public healthcare while living in Canada, so since getting back we’ve had lots of doctors appointments to go through all our routine stuff. I’ve also had an issue with my lower back that I’ve been ignoring since we were in New Orleans at the start of March (lol, classic me). I finally saw a physiotherapist after accepting that it wasn’t going to get better on its own, so now I’m really trying to take care of it in an effort to reduce the inflammation, as I’d really rather not have chronic back pain if I can help it.

A little celebration

My parents recently threw us a little welcome home + engagement lunch with Mark's parents, his grandmother, our siblings and their kids and it was lovely having (almost) everyone together to celebrate. Mark's mum organised the desserts and she got us the most unbelievable cake from Saga bakery that I will probably remember until the day I die. It was a three tier chocolate, caramel and peanut cake with torched meringue on top. We haven't actually started planning our wedding yet, but let's just say we'll almost certainly be getting dessert from the same bakery. I think we just need to try all the flavours first to decide which one is the best.

Our stuff arrived

It took about four months, but the stuff we shipped home from Toronto finally arrived the other week, so now I don’t have to live in the same suitcase full of clothes that I’ve been wearing all this time! It’s so nice to have more options again, and to know that everything arrived safely (except for one broken Instax camera). It took us a while to get through all the washing/airing out as the clothes had developed a bit of a musty smell from having been in boxes for several months, but we’ve just managed to get through it all and have everything hung up and put away nicely so it feels like we’ve really settled in as best we can, considering living with my parents is a temporary arrangement.

February & March: In My Secret Life

Things I’m Looking
Forward To

On the first weekend of May Mark is going to be the best man at his friend's wedding up in Brisbane, so we're going to be up north for a few days. We had quite a few flights during our travels in the US, so Mark is really over travelling by plane and he insisted we drive to Brisbane. It’s about a 10 hour drive so I said we had to split it up both ways, so we’re going to have a night in Coffs Harbour on the way up and Port Macquarie on the way back. It’ll be nice to see a bit more of Australia as I only really did long-distance road trips with my parents as a kid and I haven’t done anything like this as an adult, so I’m sure it’ll be lots of fun.

I’m also really looking forward to spending more time with our family and friends now that we’re back. That’s a bit of an obvious one, but it’s just so nice to have friendships that haven’t changed a bit even though we’ve been away for the best part of two years. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to pick back up where we left off and feel like we’re not even skipping a beat. That’s how you know you’ve made friends for life.

I’ve mentioned it before, but we’re currently living with my parents because my apartment has tenants in it and their lease isn’t up until the end of August. So although it’s a while away I’m really looking forward to moving back into my apartment because we didn’t get to live there for very long before we moved to Canada. I’m hoping to renovate the bathroom in between the tenants moving out and us moving in because it seems like the most sensible time since it would be awful living there without a bathroom (there’s only one). I haven’t really given it much more thought than that, but I suppose at some point I should spend some time on Pinterest figuring out what I want it all to look like.

February & March: In My Secret Life

After travelling for 6 weeks with only my Kindle for reading material, it definitely deserves a shout out. They’re so good for travelling, I don’t think I’d ever take a physical book away with me again. Although I’m still working out a system for differentiating between eBooks and physical books - I think I still want physical copies of books I really love, but when I’m reading a new writer who I don’t have any strong feelings for yet, I will probably stick to eBooks. If I end up loving them then I’ll try and buy a physical copy. It’s also been great as I’ve downloaded eBook versions of books I already own physically, so it means I don’t have to lug huge books (like Allen Ginsberg’s poetry) around with me.

I mistakenly thought that I’d barely left any clothes behind at my parents place when we left for Canada, but actually there were quite a few things I obviously wasn’t ready to let go of at the time that I had since forgotten about. It wasn’t a huge amount, but it was mostly pretty vintage dresses that I couldn’t really see myself wearing anymore, but I also felt like they were too nice and special to just throw in a donation bin. I found a place called SWOP in Newtown that will buy vintage and secondhand clothing (that’s not fast fashion) and I decided to take my stuff there. I didn’t really care how much money I got back from them, I just wanted to make sure my vintage dresses were going somewhere where they might be found and loved again, so I’m glad I found this place and was able to declutter my wardrobe without feeling too guilty.

Listening

Muddy Waters - Electric Mud
Royal Headache - High (always on repeat)
Nipsey Hussle - Victory Lap
Dr. John
Post Malone - Beerbongs & Bentleys
Meek Mill - Championships
The Cure - Disintegration
John Coltrane - Giant Steps
Little Richard - The Georgia Peach

Lifestyle Favourites

My next post is most likely going to be my current beauty favourites, but I figured I would include some of my more general favourites here as it seems like a good place to do it.

I had put off getting a new phone while we were living in Canada because I knew we would be moving back and I didn't want to be stuck in a phone contract over there, so when we got back to Sydney I got an iPhone XS and I'm so happy with it! I'd been using a 6S for years and it was just getting a bit old and slow and I needed an upgrade. Although I bloody hate that Apple got rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack and you have to buy an extra cable if you want to listen to something and charge your phone at the same time (literally the worst idea they've ever had). But I'm still really enjoying having my new phone as it gave me an excuse to clear out the apps I wasn't using and to finally sort out my music library.

Before we moved to Canada I was a iTunes kind of girl and still stuck with my iPod, but while we were there I was using Spotify, and now that we're back I've switched to Apple Music, so I spent DAYS manually saving all my music to my Apple library. Again, it gave me an excuse to have a good clear out, but it’s frustrating that there are still some albums that aren't available on any streaming service so I'll have to hang onto those separately. FYI the reason I made the switch from Spotify to Apple Music is because Spotify inexplicably has a 10,000 song limit on your library, so you can only ever save 10,000 songs even though you're not downloading them (there's another limit for that) and it doesn't cost them anything to provide you with a bigger limit.

I got up to P when saving my library to Spotify before I came across the limit, and I decided then and there that I’d switch to Apple Music because their limit is a much more sensible 100,000 songs that probably no one will ever reach. I had to re-save my whole library all over again, but it was worth it because I knew I would have to do it one day so I may as well get it over and done with. So spending hours and hours saving my music library (twice over) was definitely not a favourite, but now that it's all done having it easily accessible from my new phone is! I also picked up a beautiful case from Jasmine Dowling's collab with the Diary. A lot of phone cases cost around the same price point, so I figured I might as well spend the money supporting an indie designer, and I think it's absolutely beautiful. I bought the armoured version which has a rubber bumper around the edges and I love it!

February & March: In My Secret Life
February & March: In My Secret Life

Books

There are a few books I've read this year that I don't really have all that much to say about, so I've decided to selectively review the ones I'd like to talk about and just list the rest so I don’t get too caught up in trying to find something to say.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

After really enjoying Middlesex last year (and The Virgin Suicides many years ago) I finally got around to reading this and I loved it. He's such an impressive and nuanced writer and he has become the sort of person where I don’t really care what the book is about, I just want to read it because he is the one who wrote it. As it happens, this is essentially the story of a college-age love triangle but it's beautifully written and I think he shapes his characters in a very thoughtful way. Definitely someone I recommend reading.

Between The World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates

Oh man, this book made a huge impression on me. I really didn't know much about it before I read it. Typically I’ll hear about books and add them to my list and by the time I get around to reading them I may not remember what I’m getting myself into. The author is a writer and journalist who has worked at The Atlantic, and this is his non-fiction account of his experience as a black man in America. Again, he is another very nuanced writer who I was thoroughly impressed by, both stylistically and in the way he handled the subject matter. I thoroughly recommend this book and I’ll definitely been reading more of his work.

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

This is a cute Norwegian novel about a teenage girl who finds herself with a philosophy teacher who runs through the history of human philosophy while her view of the world crumbles around her (very meta). Although large parts of the novel are the teacher’s dialogue as he explains things to Sophie, the concept of the story is charming and I enjoyed it quite a lot. I actually heard about this book because a band I love called Spiritualized named one of their albums (their best, imo) after a line from this book - it’s called Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, and I recommend both the album and this book.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

I feel like this was hyped up a bit in the blogging world, and since I’m continuously trying to make more of an effort to read books by people who aren’t white men I figured I’d give this a go. Sidenote, I didn’t do too well with the books I’ve been reading recently, but I was only able to choose from what I already had on my Kindle. Anyway, The Power is a Dystopian story about a future where women and girls all over the world develop a power that gives them a physical advantage over men. It was a pretty interesting read, and while sci-fi and Dystopian stories aren’t what I typically go for, it was a nice change and I thought this was pretty well done.


Others

  • Bluets by Maggie Nelson

  • White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985 by Allen Ginsberg

  • Death & Fame: Poems 1993-1997 by Allen Ginsberg

  • The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • Heart Beat by Carolyn Cassady

Movies I’ve seen

  • On The Basis of Sex - loved this movie about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Armie Hammer is extra dreamy as her super supportive, progressive husband.

  • Boy Erased - seriously heartbreaking story about a young, gay Christian man and his struggles when his parents put him into a conversion therapy program.

  • Giant - naturally since this is a much older movie (starring James Dean, who is also dreamy) it has its uncomfortably racist parts, and overall really wasn’t what I was expecting, but I did still enjoy it.

  • Beautiful Boy - this was a re-watch but I’m creepily in love with Timothee Chalamet (aren’t we all?) so I thought it deserved another viewing, and I enjoyed it more the second time around.

  • Chasing Coral - for real, get to the Great Barrier Reef while you can because global warming is going to wipe out coral in a few more years. Scary stuff.