18 September 2017

Monday motivation

I love Mondays because I try to be by myself, without commitments that take me away from home. Today's motivation is looking through my idea notebooks, where there are so many ideas waiting to be developed.

There is one problem, though. I flit from idea to idea and can't focus on a single one. Is this a form of procrastination or am I scared to start? Probably both in my case. Do you ever have this difficulty? 

Here's how I overcome it: simply make a choice, any choice, and then start writing.

As long as I'm not on a deadline (and I don't have any of those at present), it doesn't really matter what I write but just that I do write. Start and then the words will come.

You may not be a writer but there might be quilt pattern ideas in your notebook or a list of projects for your garden. It doesn't matter what your ideas are. Take the first step. Go on. That's all that's needed to make something happen.

Do you think this approach would work for you if you are overwhelmed by choices?  I'd love to know! 

11 September 2017

My book of the month: September

What if all your secrets were put online? This is the premise of the latest Jack Parlabane thriller (number eight in the series) by Chris Brookmyre.

I first came across this series when I read Black Widow, a ripper of a story that is number seven in the series. After that, I planned to start at the beginning with book one (Quite Ugly One Morning) but didn't get around to it before Want You Gone was published.

It's natural that a computer hacker and a journalist would have a mutual interest to obtain information but it's when they both realise they have a common enemy that they are thrown together. The story moves quickly and there are a few twists throughout the plot to keep the reader surprised. 

Now I WILL go back to start at book one! πŸ˜ƒ

Read more about Want You Gone on Goodreads.

04 September 2017

Spring flowers

David Jones department store is a Sydney institution. Stylish and elegant, the Elizabeth Street store beckons me each year to its spring flower show. It's always worth the trip to the city!

Seeing the arrangements by 30 specialist florists always lifts my spirits and ignites my enthusiasm for gorgeous colours and blooms. Don't miss it!

There really is "no other store like David Jones". 🌼🌼🌼

22 August 2017

It's the small things

It's such a lovely day here in Sydney; is it beautiful where you are, too? I'm at home today and feel extraordinarily at peace. Nothing major has happened but I've been pottering around my house, doing all those small things that make me feel good.

I've picked all the remaining blood oranges from my potted tree. It's been such a great crop this year! I'll be squeezing the gorgeous juice from these fruit and enjoying the sun-kissed dose of goodness.

The washing is hanging quietly on the line outside and I've just come back from inhaling the scent that it is giving off as it dries in the sun. I love that sun-fresh smell, don't you?

I bought myself a new garden rake and a reading lamp today. Small things in themselves but they'll make my life easier. It doesn't take much to make my nest more comfortable.

I even hosed out the wheelie bin! Perhaps I have gone all domestic because my bin hasn't been cleaned out like that for ages. It makes me content, though.

As you can see, it doesn't take much to make me happy. Does your happiness quota get topped up by simple actions, too?

14 August 2017

Digital protection

I have a LOT of digital files and photos. I am also slightly paranoid about losing them all in a digital catastrophe, which means I make multiple backups. It's my responsibility to look after all my digital records and I'll only have myself to blame if I lose them because my computer drives fail or I lose my tablet. 

Computer programs and apps can always be reinstalled if lost, but data can't be reinstated if I don't have copies. So what do I do?

1. External hard drive
I have two and they contain everything I value. One is permanently attached to my desktop computer and the other moves around, depending where I want it. Two external drives are better than one (it's that mild paranoia!).

2. USB drives
These are small, light and easy to carry around. I have several.

3. Email
I often email important documents to myself, which means they are stored in yet another place. After I spend hours editing or writing, the last thing I need is to lose all that work.

4. The "cloud"
I sometimes (but not always) save files this way. I think that what some people often forget is that the "cloud" is simply someone else's computer, usually belonging to a large company. No one values my files as much as I do, so I would never consider making my sole backup on someone else's computer. It is always possible that there could be hardware failures at their end or that staff could access my files. Told you I am paranoid! πŸ˜€

Really, though, we each need to decide how valuable our files and photos are to us and then back them up accordingly. What type of backup do you do?

07 August 2017

Three things I like this week

Whew! Things sometimes happen when you least expect them, while other actions are carefully planned. Balancing everything going on in your life can be a challenge, which is why I try to focus on the positives.

1. Winter in Sydney

We are having the most glorious sunny days this week. The wind has quite a chill factor, so it's not as warm outside as it looks from behind my window, but the sun lifts my spirits and makes everything seem better.

I tag my winter seasonal photos on Instagram (I'm @ericaspinks) with the hashtag #winterinsydney and it's fun to look back at moments I've captured with my camera.

2. Knitting

Picking up a knitting project I started over 10 years ago (I know - how slack!), I'm wondering if I will finish it this season. I've already knitted the front and back of the jumper, joined them at the shoulders, and finished the neckline so that just leaves the sleeves for me to make. Keep your fingers crossed that I have enough yarn to complete it because I doubt I'd find any more now.

Do you like my knitting bag? It was a birthday gift from my friend Sarah. Gorgeous Liberty fabrics! (You can buy the pattern for her bag here, if you want to make one yourself. It's amazingly spacious.)

3. Sorting electronic clutter

I enjoy using my electronic devices - computer, tablet and phone - but regularly I need to tame the data they contain. Purging apps, leaving email lists, deleting photos, unfollowing people and pages, and organising files - it all soothes me and makes me feel that I control a tiny space in the universe. So satisfying.

What has made you happy this week? 

17 July 2017

My book of the month: July

Here's my confession up front: I usually steer clear of books set in World War II Britain because I tire of the stiff upper lip attitude that seems prevalent in most of the stories set in this time. It may have been true but I don't want to read any more about it.

This novel is different. It charmed me with its story lines about relationships and the natural inclination of people to support each other during terrible events. It could really have been set in any society during war.

The characters are different ages and react in different ways to the bombing of the town of Chilbury in 1940. Portrayed through letters written by various characters, the story shows how human resilience can shine to make life worthwhile, even in difficult times.

You can read more about The Chilbury Ladies Choir on Goodreads.