Hidden Treasures

I started back at uni this week after having time off over summer. On my walk to the train station I stopped into the Little Library at Melbourne Central to have a browse, I’ve donated many books there throughout our BNN journey and love the old timely bookstore feel it has.

So I went in and had a quick scan of the books there and I saw the spine of one book that read ‘The Spend Less Handbook, 365 Tips for a Better Quality of Life While Actually Spending Less‘, Perfect, right up my alley I thought. When I got on the train I fished the book out of my bag and noticed a sticker on the front which initially I thought must be some award the book has won. I soon realised the sticker said ‘Books just wanna be free!’ – this grabbed my attention.
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A little while ago we had a comment from ‘CC’ Richards who’s blog is Daytripper Sippers. He bought our attention to the idea of ‘traveling books’ which I have heard a bit before but he jogged my memory on the theory behind them. Travelling books work on a ‘read and release’ theory, this means you leave a book which you have read or are willing to let go of ‘in the wild’ (such as on a park bench, on the train or the Little Library) so that then someone else can pick it up and enjoy it themselves. Travelling books have been around for ages, but the exciting part is that they have now gone digital – this means you can keep track of your books travels online instead of just hoping it’s gone to someone nice and never knowing. You see normally you would leave your name and location inside the front cover of the book, but now with the help of bookcrossing.com each book is assigned a registration number and can be logged online so all past and present holders of the book can see the journeys it makes.
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Anyway… The book I picked up is a bookcrossing book! I had the biggest smile on my face when I noticed this, it’s like I felt special, as if the book chose me – weird I know! So far the book has been a little gem with quite a few nifty tricks of the trade. It had a little story at the end of chapter one which I really enjoyed, it seemed to connect with me and our BNN journey really well.

A rich businessman while on holiday in a foreign land approaches a local fisherman who is relaxing next to his boat watching the waves gently rustle up the shore.

“Why aren’t you working?” he asks the man.

“Because I have already caught enough fish for the day,” the fisherman replies.

“But if you were out there fishing now you could sell all the fish you catch and make extra money,” urges the foreign businessman. “You could save up the extra money you earn and buy another boat. Keep on working like that and soon you could own a whole fleet of boats and start up a business in international trade”

“And why would I want to do that?” said the fisherman, barely looking up from under the brim of his straw hat.

“So that you could become rick enough like me to be able to sit back and enjoy life”

“But what” replied the fisherman “do you think I am doing now?”

What a great story, it resides so perfectly with some of the things we’ve learnt so far with BNN. Be grateful for what you have, live for now – don’t waste your time thinking ‘if I just had that I would be so much happier’ because if you really think about it, you probably wont. Experiences are what really stick with you, memories of laughter, smells and sights – not stuff.

I am so glad I’ve come across this book, it made my day. I look forward to reading more of it and then releasing it so it can go on and live another day.

Little xx

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Ugh… Summer.

Well Summer has well and truely set in here in Melbourne. This is the weather forecast for the week
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Temperatures above 40℃ for four consecutive days, come on mother nature you’re not even giving us a chance here! As you may of picked up from the tone of this post we are definitely not summer people. I would much rather it be cold and rainy outside so I can curl up in bed , listen to the rain outside and open up a good book than this hot and humid weather we”re getting.
I’ll do my best to avoid making this a whiney ‘poor me…Its too hot’ post today, besides there’s a cool change coming through on Saturday.

Here’s our top tips for keeping cool and staying safe these next few days:

1) Make sure you have plenty of refreshing snacks and beverages at hand. I like to make up a bowl of salad at the beginning of the week we tend to keep it simple using just spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrot and a bit of fetta or avacado. I have a massive sweet tooth though and so also make up some home made iced tea to sip throughout the week and maybe a bowl of jelly.

2) Please make sure your pets are made as comfortable as possible on these crazy hot days. Keep them indoors as much as you can. Dogs and Cats do not have the ability to regulate heat by sweating like we do. The only way they can regulate their body temperature is by panting. Make sure they have plenty of access to fresh water, we even put a few iceblocks in the water to keep it nice and cool. Our dog really likes when we freeze some chicken stock with a few treats for him to suck on, a bit like a doggy ice cookie 🙂
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These are our pets Gypsy the Ragdoll cat and Archie our Spoodle.

3) Keep the house insulated! We have a northern facing house so in the afternoon the sun really belts down through the back window and there is potential for our little house to turn into a hot, hot sauna very quickly. We have block out blinds which are positioned nice and close to the window to avoid heat entering the house through that back area.

4) Please stay out of the sun wherever possible. It may seem really lovely weather outside to some but keep in mind how high the UV index is on these days. Your skin can begin burning in a matter if minutes (maybe less) outside. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer, so please be sun smart this Summer 🙂

5) Keep hydrated! You all know how important it is to stay hydrated year round, especially during summer. So drink plenty of water!

What do you do when it’s hot? Smosh has by far the most creative list I’ve seen on the net so far.

Day nine: gifts we love

Give a membership!

Our family are big St-Kilda supporters (mock if you will) and we have a fantastic row of about five seats we have managed to hold onto as members for quite a few years. At various times throughout our membership one or another of us has had trouble paying the annual fee and we have always helped one another out in order to ensure we don’t lose our prized seats. There are lots of things people can be members of and they all provide different benefits, in our case we get lots of merch at the beginning of the season, our seats we get to sit in every week and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other things too. Our football membership has provided many memories as a family, my two cousins have been handed the celebratory football that is given out at the end of the game numerous times and I’m sure that getting the chance to go to the football every week with my grandparents has allowed them to share many happy memories together. Some other membership ideas are…

  1. Zoo membership – Melbourne Zoo has a great membership program that allows you to have access to all three zoos (Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo) as well as reciprocal entry to selected interstate zoos and a few other perks including discounted tickets to their twilight concerts they hold during the warmer months.
  2. Museum Victoria – This ones pretty cool you get unlimited general entry to Scienceworks, Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum as well as various museums and cultural educational centres in other states.
  3. Youth Hostels Australia – Great for travellers! The mholder of the membership gets at least 10% off accomodation costs at YHA hostels all over Australia + member rates worldwide. They also get discounts of travel gear, insurance and flights.
  4. Golf Membership – This is great for avid golfers it allows them access to their favourite recreational activity as well as the perks of socialising with other members and having access to member exclusive club rooms etc…
  5. Any sports membership – AFL, ruby league, ruby union, ice hockey, soccer, this list could go on forever :p

There are memberships to suit most people, I hope this list has provided some inspiration 🙂

Also… I have a few links I’d like to share today

Glamumous has written a really useful post with 101 household tips for every room in your home, there are so many storage solutions here and lots of natural cleaning remedies too.

and

Eartheasy has written a nice article with tips on how to have a ‘green’ christmas. There are some really nice little suggestions here and some new traditions I hope to introduce to our christmases to come.

Little Pop xx

Ways we have been filling our free time now that we’re not shopping

Since we are not buying new thinga anymore we have a lot more time on our hands. We thought it was about time to share some of our latest projects and hobbies we have developed recently.

Big Pop has been cooking up a storm! She has made some delicious meals for her and little pop to freeze and have for dinner 🙂
She has made Chow Mien, yummy slow cooked stews, soups and even cheesecake! All made with lovely local ingredients. Hopefully when our veggie garden is ready to be harvested we can include some of our own produce in the food!

She also made a football themed quilt out of old family scarves we have collected over the years. This was given to some of the family’s most devoted footy supporters for cold nights watching the Saints play… (Hopefully it will also give them some much needed luck for the rest of the season!)

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Little Pop has been fairly busy with exams but has found time to start finishing off some old crafting projects she started such as cross stitch, quilts, scarves… (This list could go on forever!)

Little pop also found an old wooden pallet on hard rubbish and salvaged it for what is so far an unknown project. We’re thinking it would make a nice lettuce planter… Maybe something like this…

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We have both been reading vigorously (which isn’t something new) but are starting to run out of matierial so are beginning to wonder whether it is better to use the kindle to download ebooks or just buy secondhand hard copies of the books we want.

There are many recycling related Facebook pages we have both been following such as:

Hard Rubbish Melbourne – A group for those who aren’t afraid of a good scavenge, it has a list in the files
Section outlining all the hard rubbish collection dates for each council area.

Recycle in Eastern Suburbs Melbourne – a more localised version of the above group.

Frugally Sustainable has many great ideas for making everyday products and saving money!

And

Upcycled Vintage which is a great blog written by a woman in Adelaide who does up old furniture, she even does custom orders if you’re really interested!

Also – not a Facebook group but equally wonderful is a building demolition team who claim to salvage 98% of the buildings they pull down and then sell them to the public! http://pacedemolitions.com.au/ and http://www.salvagebazaar.com.au/ is a similar online marketplace for surplus and secondhand building matierials 🙂

We’ve also had some success with our vegetable garden we planted not too long ago, but I will save that story for another time 🙂

TGIF

Well Friday has come around again and since we’ve now been doing BNN for a little over a week I thought I would reflect on the progress we have made during the week.

On Sunday we went down to the farmers market and bought a nice sourdough loaf and then sat back and enjoyed a coffee and a Sri Lankan cooking demonstration as well as a nice bag o’ bones for puppy pop. We really love this market and would recommend it to anyone living in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. http://www.mulgravefarmersmarket.com.au/

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Monday we went into Collingwood and had a nice browse of the various op-shops where Little Pop purchased some funky sunglasses. We also stumbled upon a lovely shop run by the NGO Friends of the Earth where you can buy local produce package free (so environmentally friendly!). what you do is come along with a few old tupperware containers fill them up with whatever you’re in need of (chickpeas, pasta, muesli… maybe some kidney beans?) then you pay and take it home, just like a regular supermarket! http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/?q=co_op/home

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Tuesday we made a lovely mandarin jam which tastes great with a nice cheese or even just some plain toast 🙂

Here is the recipe we followed: http://www.recipelover.com/recipe/1724/mandarin-jam-marmalade-mirowave-recipe-recipe

Wednesday we received a lovely box of fruit and vegetables from CERES, a company dedicated to providing fresh, organic, fair trade, locally grown produce. It was so exciting, we had been anticipating what may be in the box since we ordered it on Sunday. I think one of the best bits is the mystery of not knowing what you will end up with. For just over $30 we got a whole box stacked full of yummy treats 🙂 http://www.ceresfairfood.org.au/

Photo: On the weekend Mum and I decided to purchase our weekly shopping online through CERES - An organisation committed to giving Melbournians access to organic, fair trade, locally grown produce + home delivery! Today our huge box arrived packed with goodies (all for just over $30) here is a small snapshot of what we received.

Thursday Big Pop did a big clean out of the corner of here bedroom, which has been blocking access to part of her wardrobe for months now (maybe years!) and ended up filling a bag with about 20kg of no longer needed clothing and she was so happy!

Now we have Friday, who knows what today will bring! Mothers Day is coming up this weekend what have you got planned?

I think we have been adjusting really well so far to our commitment to buy local and not be controlled by matierial items and being able to write this list has allowed me to visualise how hard we have been working. Something that did come up during the week which never really got settled was if BNN includes digital items such as apps and ebooks, what do you think?

Little Pop xx

Update on the book situation!

Just a quick post from me today.

This afternoon I went and dropped a selected few books off at the Little Library Melbourne Central to see how successful my book sharing mission will be. So I dropped off 14 books – when I came back to get on the train home, half of them had gone! I don’t know why, but this made me really happy to think I was sharing my love of reading with my fellow book lovers out there. I know I will never meet the people who have taken the books but I do hope they bring as much joy to their new owners as they did to me 🙂

Before

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After

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I’m sure I will be doing a few book dropoffs during BNN, especially because of the smile it bought to my face 🙂

Little Pop

Books Finding a New Home

One of the best things about BNN is it will give us the chance to get rid of all the stuff we have lying around but are too sentimental to get rid of (my main weakness is books). I have come to terms with the fact that in order to get our home sorted out and looking fabulous I will have to part with many of the books I have accumulated throughout my reading years – of course I wont be getting rid of any of the very precious books I own… just the ones sitting around taking up precious shelf space.

I had been trying to think of what to do with the books because I want to make sure they get used and don’t just end up sitting in an op shop (I can just picture them on the shelf going ‘please pick me!‘), I used to volunteer at an op shop and know that books are one of the least commonly bought items. And after much deliberation I went into somewhere I’ve past on my many days to and from uni, it’s called the ‘Little Library‘ and is in Melbourne Central. To be frank it’s more of a community service than a shop, how it works is Melbournians can go into the shop and donate their old books or swap and share with others inside the store. I really like the fact that this is all free and not based around making a profit off my belongings, and this way I know my books will actually stay in circulation and be used.

So at some point in the next few weeks my no longer needed books will be finding themselves a new home in the Little Library.

If you want to read more about this initiative check out this link:

http://theworldlovesmelbourne.com/arts/106-melbourne-central-little-library-literary-gem-in-the-cbd.html

Also: Please don’t think I have something against op shops because I don’t – I just don’t want to give them my books 🙂

Little Pop