The Rosie Project – Bookclub Review

I have this rather fabulous book club. No, let’s be real here, they are not just rather fabulous, they’re down right UTTERLY Fabulous! We have developed beautiful friendships and books are quite simply the start of our conversations.

Since being in our book club, we’ve read a wide range of literature like The Book Thief, (4 years ago, long before the movie came out!), The Secret Life of Bees and Persuasion.

Being a bit of a book bug, I’ve shared a few book reviews on this site. Lately I’ve been doing a fair bit of children’s literature, which I adore, and I do spend a lot of time reading children’s books at the moment. However, I wanted to share about adult books once again this year. It just happens that the majority of books I read for myself are for book club, I don’t have too much time to read too much more after that, although if I do, it’s normally a parenting book.

This Thursday night was our monthly Book Club night. This month we read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

Let me tell you, this was the best book I’ve read for awhile. First and foremost because it was funny! Like laugh out loud and make your husband look over at you in a strange way and make your children question, “Why are you laughing Mummy?”. (You won’t always be able to tell your children why you are laughing, because sometimes it’s a little naughty…but still funny…)

Basically the story is written in first person by Professor Don Tilman, a character who has Asperges like traits, although he admits that he has never been diagnosed. Far too complex a character to fit into a single diagnosis! I love that you hear the main character’s thought processes and opinions throughout the whole storyline. Especially since seeing life through Don’s eyes is very amusing, but you also grow to respect how something like asperges can also be a real strength, not just a disability. Don, with all his very funny quirks and hilarious social indiscretions, finds himself in pursuit of love. His romantic methods are certainly non-traditional! He compiles a very thorough questionnaire, that he feels holds scientific validity. The questionnaire in itself is an amusing part in the novel! Meanwhile he bumps into Rosie, who in his opinion, is completely unsuitable as a wife. He embarks on a project with her and the adventures they have together are downright hilarious! (Sorry to use the word hilarious so much, but truly, it’s the word that best describes this novel!)

My favourite moments in the book is Don mixing cocktails, Don and Rosie eating lobster, travelling to NY and just the constant humour in the way Don expresses himself, which can be summed up as, yes, you guessed it – Hilarious!

In our book club, we rate our books out of 10. Here are the scores and opinions of the ladies who were present this month.

Belinda – 8.5/10

My good friend Belinda, (Check her out at bbeingcool), liked this book because it was a great insight into ASD done with style and humour.

Anna – 8.7/10

Anna is one of those very practical ladies, and I love her “I’m thinking in percentages” score out of ten! Anna likes this book because it made her laugh. She could relate to it because “I teach kids with autistic tendencies.” Anna also says she would love to be as organised as Don! I think Anna is pretty darn organised as she is. But certainly not to the same level of efficiency as the professor! Belinda and I decided we were far more like Rosie then Don! Proving that she is not ASD herself, Anna could see the beauty in my new Royal Doulton mugs that Alex gave me for Valentines Day!

Jodie – 8/10
Jodie rushed back from holidaying at the coast to book club with us. Well kind of, not really, her holiday had finished that day, but we were so glad she came despite the travel, especially since she nominated the book this month! (We all have turns.) Jodie scored it an 8 because it was entertaining and intelligent escapism.

Have you read the Rosie Project? What was your opinion of it, and can you give it a score out of 10?

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Bonding in a Charity Store

For those of us raising families, charity stores can be a great money saving option. You can get clothes for all ages and sizes, books, kitchenware, furniture and even shoes at bargain bonanza prices. It’s a great way to obtain products that you may need (or want) and not break the budget, therefore leaving funds for all the other expenses that kids need such as school fees, groceries or the children’s extra-curricular commitments! (It costs a lot for kids to learn and develop skills as it turns out!) Unfortunately for me, I’m not always great at locating the impressive bargains at thrift stores.

One of my dearest friends is Belinda from Bbeingcool. Belinda and I went to university together. We were such good friends that she was even a bridesmaid at my wedding.

And here I am at her wedding. Vintage B & C.

Belinda is an op-shopping guru. It’s true! Even Nikki Parkinson at Styling You says so! On her very awesome blog, she has heaps of advice on thrifting, like Why you should op-shopRules for op-shopping and Op-Shopping on Holidays. After being jealous of many the very cool things Belinda buys, I thought I might have more luck if she supervised me during a charity store visit. So, I booked in some girl time, left the kids with Miss Rachael and we went Op-Shopping!

I have to say, I went with high expectations and really hoping I could pick up some bargains. One thing I was really looking for was an art table that would seat all the children comfortably at once. Alas, even with B as my good luck charm, this did not come to pass.

But Belinda did have an eye for picking out some lovely clothes. This little sheer top has been a really great little number for wearing during the day, and I always get compliments when I wear it.

Belinda was telling me after we had flicked (unsuccessfully) through a rack labelled as Designer clothes, that often the volunteers who price the clothing don’t know their labels and she will often pick up bargains in the general section. She hadn’t even finished when she found a lovely linen jacket by Flower. (Which I must admit, I wasn’t familiar with that brand either, but you can tell that it is high quality.) Unfortunately for B, it didn’t fit her – but guess who it did fit? Score!

Here I am hanging out with the lady in question at our monthly bookclub get together. I love our bookclub, especially since this is my best way to see Belinda regularly because we still live in the same town, but now we schmooze in totally different circles most of the time.

 The pleats at the back is my favourite aspect of this jacket. It’s not a brilliant photo, but you can kind of see what I’m talking about.

Even though I scored the cute jacket, Belinda went home as proud as punch because she snaffled a pair of Vivien Westwood shoes! Now, shoes are something my mother always told me to never wear second hand. However, B has quite sensible rules about buying shoes from op shops that I think my mother would even approve of.

On the day in question, we were thrifting at a store in a better area of town, (Good tip for increasing your likelihood of finding some quality items) when I actually heard Belinda yelp. Her hand shot out and grabbed as she declared, “They’re mine” and hugged them to her body. I didn’t stand a chance, just as well we are different shoe sizes. Here she is showing off her shoes to the other ladies at bookclub. Can’t you just see how proud she is?

They were a great buy. These shoes have a hefty price tag when purchased brand new, so even though $40 was a lot to pay for a pair of second hand shoes, they were still a bargain, especially since they looked unworn and still came in the original box.

Not everything I bought was a success. I bought a whole heap of frames with plans to paint them and frame the children’s artwork in their craft room. Once home, I realised that I should have been looking at more than just the condition of the actual frame. Most were missing hanging hooks and some had wonky back pieces. I probably won’t use them. Also a bought a black and grey striped skivvy. It was a good brand, was a flattering cut and comfortable to wear, but it was…well a skivvy! I voiced concern at the time, but Belinda said it looked good and skivvies are classic. But then when I wore it in public, I felt circa 1990’s. So, I’m afraid it is in a pile to get donated back to the charity store. (Just as well it was cheap!) I’m sure there is some skivvy looking person out there who defies current trends!

So after a couple of hours thrifting under B’s tutelage here are:

C’s Tips for Op Shopping
1. Be on the lookout for good brands
2. Walk past the undies in second hand stores. (Seriously, who does buy second hand panties? There are rules people!)
3. Check out the homewares. (I bought some cute vintage Tupperware.) But do a thorough quality inspection.
4. Listen to your gut when you have doubts. Even if it means ignoring the advice of a guru. (Sorry B!)
5. Try things on for size. (I would have bought a beautiful dress in my size, but when I tried it on, I discovered it was made for a lady who is bigger busted than I.)
6. Bring a friend! It’s always nice to have a second opinion, great to have another’s eyes to spot for you and a great way to enjoy one another’s company.

At the end of our expedition.

So, are you a charity shopping goddess? Or do you struggle to find an op-shopping bargain? Share your stories below! Do you have a long time friend? What do you do when you hang out together now?

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2012 Cookie Exchange

Last night, (Stop press: Ummm, let’s make that Monday night), I had a delightful evening chatting with some friends, drinking tea and eating bicuits/cookies/truffles/slice. I wanted to get home early so I could finish writing a magazine article that was well past it’s deadline, but I was having so much fun (maybe talked a little too much…) that I had to come home and burn the midnight oil.

I first participated in a Cookie Exchange and documented it in one of my early blogs here. It’s a great concept. The premise is to gather a group of friends together. Everyone nominates one thing to bake and then bakes enough so that each person can get 10 serves each and then an extra serve to eat that night. On the designated night we all turn up and have a cuppa and a chinwag while sampling all the yummy treats that were made.

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Don’t they look yum? This is our delightful hostess! Thanks so much for organising  it N! xxx

My contribution this time was condensed milk biscuits (You really should try the recipe in that link if you haven’t made them before. Fabulous basic biscuits and with one tin of condensed milk you can make a ton of  them.) To make them Christmassy, I drizzled an sugary glazed icing on that I coloured red and then adorned with green sprinkles.


BTW, check out my completely cool vintage food colouring!


When my grandfather moved into a nursing home I nabbed it from his pantry since my beautiful Gran is no longer with us to bake, and Grandad certainly wasn’t going to use it! I know this will probably make the health freaks shudder, but this stuff is the real deal. Seriously, if you need red these days, it just doesn’t come out so vibrant. The bottle is almost finished which makes me a bit sad, because not only will all my food look pink instead of red, but it’s just a little momento of my Gran that I love to use! And the bottle, I love it. I don’t think I’ll ever throw it out. (Which incidentally is a genetic hoarding flaw that my Gran also passed onto me as well as a love for baking.)

My father-in-law is arriving from overseas at the end of this week. I’m so happy that we will be able to offer him an impressive snack selection!

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All the goodies waiting to be taken home. There’s included Cherry & coconut bikkies, Choc chip  and Choc peppermint biscuits, Oreo truffles and pumpkin slice. (Mine are hidden in the reindeer bags!)

Have you ever participated in a cookie exchange?  What do you think is a good cookie to contribute/receive?

I was going to link this post in Essentially Jess‘s I Blog on Tuesday. I did blog it for Tuesday. It just has taken me awhile to work out how to get some photos onto here, so I missed the submission. *Sad Face, bottom lip drops.* (Remember, I’m technically challenged…) And since it’s taken me until Thursday to post, (and because this is a great example of being smart and frugal) I’m linking to I thrive on Thursday. And because this is an excellent activity for Mum’s to do that the kids will appreciate, I’m linking with True Aim Education

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"Favourite" – Photo a Day Challege

A favourite way to spend a Saturday.

Good Food

Good Fun

Great Friendships.

Last night my friend texted me asking if her family could bring lunch around and hang out with us. I’m so glad she did. It ticked many of my favourite boxes. Which is why she is one of my favourite persons.

How did you spend your Saturday?

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The Triplet's Mate

Remember in the 32nd Week of my pregnancy I shared this belly to belly photo with my friend?

My wonderful friend Mummy T was 38 weeks pregnant in this picture while I was 32 weeks.

When I went into hospital, Mummy T and I were texting like crazy, trying to co-ordinate our babies being born at the same time. Of course the babies had other ideas, mine were born first. Four days later Baby J was born.

I was in the special care nursery feeding my triplets when I received the text from Mummy T saying Baby J had arrived. I was so excited and was telling all the midwives when the midwife who had delivered the baby came in. Mummy T was still in the labour ward, just around the corner, so I was able to sneak in and say hello. Mummy T looked amazing and was sitting up with her precious bundle on her lap.

It was so special seeing a little human for the first time only minutes after he had arrived. He was absolutely gorgeous – but oh my goodness! HUGE!!! Baby J was a whopping 9lb 9oz

After feeding my little 4+lb babe, my reaction was probably incorrect.  “Wow! He’s a monster!” I exclaimed. I didn’t mean it in the horrible monster way at all, you know, like those cute little monsters, like Elmo and Abbey Cadabbey from Seasame St. But I probably won’t refer to newborns as monsters again, luckily Mummy T didn’t seem upset by my monster comment. (Sorry if you were Mummy T!)

Mummy T and Baby J came to visit us the other day. Neither of us would like to do a tummy to tummy photo again, however we would love to show off our beautiful babies. (One of mine is missing.) As you can see, I might have had the bigger tummy, but now Baby J is by far the biggest! My babies currently weigh: Joey 2.8kg, Chook 3kg, Missy 3.1kg. Baby J is 6kg!

Baby J, Joey and Missy chillaxin’
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Blog Friends

Yesterday I spoke about the friendships I’ve made or extended through blogging. I cut this section out of my post and decided to post it today.

I’ve got loads of blogs that I follow. These lovely ladies aren’t the big time bloggers who blog as a career – they just make the world a better place for those of us acquainted their writing.

I think this is a nice little spot to share some of my favourite blogger buddies! Only a few – I’m sure this list will grow, I’m already starting to adore some blogs I’ve just started to follow, especially some awesome multiple Mum’s, so refer to my blogroll.

Graze If You Want to But Don’t Eat Dirt Written by the hilariously funny Crazy Sister, this blog will often make me laugh. And you know how much I love a good giggle! What’s even more awesome is that I discovered that this Crazy Sister, (So named in her sister’s fabulous blog – also worthy of  a look see. Check it out here), literally lives down the road from me! So now we are cyber pals and friends in the flesh!

Reaching For Green Emily Sue often drops by this blog and leaves lovely comments. I’m not half as good at leaving comments back to her, but I love reading her raw, honest blog. If you want to start making blog friends, do as Emily Sue does and leave comments. Just like in ‘real life’, the key to establishing friendships is communication. Thanks Emily Sue!

A Fruitful Life Lacey is a friend of mine. I feel like I know Lacey so much better since reading her blog though. She has fresh and honest writing style. She writes a great blog about all types of subjects ranging from DIY’s to babyhood. It’s always a great read.

B Being Cool B is another friend. I’ve known her forever, we were young fair maidens together. B was even my bridesmaid when I married my Prince. Since our uni days, our paths don’t cross quite as much, even though we are fortunate enough to be living in the same town once again. However, B. and I are loving reconnecting so much more since facebook and through our blogs. Her blog is really excellent and a tribute to her as a writer. It’s thoughtful, insightful, witty and as the name suggests, very, very, cool!

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A Polka Dot Party

Recently my incredible friend Liz had a party to celebrate her 30 amazing years of life. Seriously, they have been amazing – I’m so in awe of that woman. She’s one of those ladies that seems to do everything, even though she would beg to differ, but compared to the average woman, it’s a heck of a lot. She has three beautiful children who are awesome and a fantastic hubby who she is devoted to

Here is Liz with her beautiful family – minus the baby, who is equally gorgeous.

She works part time, keeps a tidy house (unlike mine), turns up to gazillions of meetings, is always there for her friends, she’s the type of girl who will turn up with a meal in the middle of her hectic day, just because she’s heard you’re sick. And to top it all off, she was disturbed about what is happening to young girls these days, and the intense pressure our sexualised media places on our young women, that she started up a magazine!!! If you haven’t heard about Bella, a counter-culture mag for girls 13-19 years old, check it out here. If you know a girl within that age range go buy a copy for her. It’s got great positive content and is not smutty like most mags aimed for that age bracket.

Back to Liz. When I realised this was the year she turned 30 I was keen to help her out with her party plans. Because, it’s a well known fact, that I love a party. Since she is a classy chick, a garden party seemed just right. And because she’s a fun loving gal (not because she’s dotty) we decided on a polka-dot theme. People were asked to dress or accesorise with polka dots, and it was really fun seeing everyone in their dotty outfits mingling in the garden.

Anyway, I had a few projects that I’ll blog about in the next couple of days. Today I’ll share what our family wore to the party. The Accountant and I were easy, I bought a new dress (any excuse, besides I needed a new dress for work anyway…) The Accountant got a spotty tie. I didn’t know what to do for the boys. After all, you get polka dot galore fashion items for girls, but not so much for boys. I had a brain wave to make bow ties for the boys. Unfortunately I was so busy I only started them an hour and a half before we left! It took probably an hour, when you combined that with parenting moments and trying to make it up as I went along. If you know what you are doing, I’m sure it would be quicker.

If you want to make a little boys bow tie, here’s how I did it. I am sure there are better ways, I’m no seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. But if you are really stuck maybe you can pick up a few ideas. (Because I had limited time, I haven’t got comprehensive photos. Sorry if you are a visual person like me.)

1. Cut out two small rectangles of fabric. Fold a seam on two short side and iron.

2. Place wrong sides together, (ironed seams matching) sew around three edges, leaving a the ironed seam short side open. Turn so right sides are facing outwards and iron.

3. Cut two small skinny rectangles, sew wrong sides together again. Turn, so right sounds are out. This was tricky because it was so small and skinny. I used a pencil to help poke it all through the right way. This was the longest part of the whole process. (iron a seam in advance again.)

4. Sew the open ironed seam shut. Concertina fold the large rectangle. Twist small rectangle around the middle and sew into place. Sew to the back of the large bowtie as well so it doesn’t move.

5. Sew a length of elastic around, large enough to fit under a collar.

So this is what my happy family looked like at the party.

Happy 30th Birthday Liz! You are an inspiration to myself and so many others. xx

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