Toora Impressions

We go down to Toora a couple of times a year to visit my sister in-law and her husband. It’s about 4-5 hours away, with rest breaks. from Ballarat, so we tend to stay a couple of days.

The streetscape of Toora is quiet pretty, and pretty quiet. It is slowly becoming an artist’s retreat owing to cheap rents.

Toora has a community bank, laundromat, coffee shop, patisserie, op shop, supermarket and a pub which doubles as a TAB and also does a mean fisherman’s basket.

Nestled against hills, Toora is the site of a wind farm with 12 turbines.

Not far out of town is Agnes Falls, which are the highest single span falls in Victoria. They’re also incredibly beautiful.

Toora is a lovely place to relax, and I hope to be visiting there for many years to come.

And that’s me- 11 posts in 12 days for the blog12daysofxmas. It wasn’t easy, given I was in holiday mode, but fun nevertheless. Given it was in a holiday period, it was lovely to see another side of the participants- a more domestic, crafty, outdoorsy side, rather than the library side. It was good to read old favourites and read new blogs too :).

As for me, I’ll keep blogging away about books, craft, kids, cooking gardening and maybe squeeze the odd post in about work and techie stuff…

Stay tuned for more happenings chez Bookgrrl.


To see a fine lady upon a white horse…

We returned a few days ago from two magical days down at Toora, where we stayed with Mr BG’s family and chilled out. The kids went ape in the huge garden, played at leisure with their over abundance of Christmas presents and became reacquainted with their cousins.

Miss BG also got her wish to go for a ride on a horse, which was granted by her auntie, mummy and daddy and her auntie’s friend Kerryn, upon whose horse she rode.

Miss BG’s verdict on the ride, was that it was wobbly, but she loved it, with the horse walking gently on a quiet country road, with Kerry and Kerryn holding on to her and to the horse.

We also got to meet some of Kerryn’s calves!

Master BG declined the horse ride, saying he would do it another time, opting for a piggyback ride with Dad.

Meanwhile he later had a ride on his cousin Brad’s motorbike.

Stay tuned for more of our Toora adventures!

Sunburn, Bloody Sunburn

So far, we have…

Filled a 3 square metre skip full of weeds, holly, ivy, deadheaded roses and concrete

Stockpiled bricks and pavers for use as edging and paving

Trimmed the hedge, and pulled out heaps of holly and ivy and weeded the front yard

Cleared out the foliage and ivy down the side of the house

Pulled out and dug up weeds, started digging out the soil from the circle, and removed the pathway.

I also got sunburnt on the small of my back (tshirt riding up and jeans falling down, and no, there are NO photos of that!).

The circle is the next to go, once the dirt has been removed. The skip will be hired again  in a couple of weeks time as we remove more foliage and concrete from the circle.

I’m hoping to plant some daisies and ground cover in the front yard soon, and have spoken to our lovely next door neighbour about putting up a trellis on top of the existing fence for a climber such as jasmine or passionfruit. She’s more than happy to split the costs, which is good. Her handyman, Ron, will come around later in the week to put that up, which means a trip to a nursery for plant shopping on Saturday.

Meanwhile the little BGs are having a whale of a time playing in the dirt, and turning their bathwater black with grime 🙂

All things Coco

I’m pretty much a Chanel girl. My fashion palette is predominantly black and white, and my favourite perfume is Chanel No.5. In fact, I even attended Chanel College, a local boys school in Geelong in my VCE year (to study French, no less). In the past two weeks I have also seen as part of my DVD catch up fest two Chanel movies, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky and Coco Avant Chanel.

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky looks at the affair between Chanel and Stravinsky and is set in 1920, the year in which Chanel No. 5 was released, while Coco Avant Chanel depicts the fashion designer’s life before she attained iconic status, concentrating on her relationship with two men, Etienne Balsan and Englishman Arthur “Boy” Capel.

Both films look beautiful and elegant, though I think in both cases it is a matter of style over substance. Coco and Igor is based upon a novel which fictionalises the alleged affair, which commenced when Chanel invited Stravinsky, his wife and their family to stay at her country house.

Coco Avant Chanel, while starting out establishing dates for particular pivotal moments in Chanel’s life, seems to forget this device as the film progresses. Her affair with Boy Capel, for example was said to have lasted 9 years, yet this is not established in the film.

In both films Chanel is portrayed as quite ruthless, not letting anyone stand in her way of obtaining what she desires, and quite unsentimental. The actresses who portray her both do a sterling job in their roles. In real life they both represent Chanel, with Anna Mouglalis (Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinksy) modelling jewellery and Audrey Tautou (Coco Avant Chanel) the face of Chanel No.5.

Of the two, Audrey Tautou (Amelie) is able to convey an inner fragility, which belies her tough appearance. The final shot at the end of the film shows Tautou displaying an uncanny resemblance to Chanel herself, as models wearing her classic couture descend a mirrored staircase.

In many ways, her later life, with her links to the British royal family and her activities in Paris during World War Two would have been the basis of a more substantial, and certainly more controversial, movie.

This has definitely whetted my appetite to find out more of her life, and fully intend to read the latest biography by Justine Picardie. It will make for a good read on the train!

Lights, camera, movie meme!

When in need to do a blog catch up, do a meme- thank you @katejf and @girlwithshoes, and @malbooth! This also sandwiches in nicely with a film review I did this morning and another one in development for tomorrow. So here is…

Top 25 Box Office of 2010

what I have seen and what I want to see)

(as of December 13, 2010 from IMDB)

  1. Toy Story 3 ($415M) – saw it (and loved it)
  2. Alice in Wonderland ($334.2M)  saw (and enjoyed)
  3. Iron Man 2 ($312.1M)
  4. Eclipse ($300.5M)
  5. Inception ($292.5M)  so want to see
  6. Deathly Hallows Part 1 ($259.2M)  so want to see
  7. Despicable Me ($250.3.7M)
  8. Shrek Forever After ($238.4M)
  9. How to Train Your Dragon ($217.6M)
  10. The Karate Kid ($176.6M)
  11. Clash of the Titans ($163.2M) saw on the plane and liked
  12. Grown Ups ($162M)
  13. Megamind ($140.6M)
  14. The Last Airbender ($131.6M) saw on the plane
  15. Shutter Island ($128M) saw (and loved)
  16. The Other Guys ($119.2M)
  17. Salt ($118.3M)
  18. Tangled ($117.2M)
  19. Jackass 3-D ($116.8M)
  20. Valentine’s Day ($110.5M)  saw and fell asleep on the plane
  21. Robin Hood ($105.3M)
  22. The Expendables ($103.1M)
  23. Date Night ($98.7M) saw on the plane (not too bad)
  24. Due Date ($95.4M)
  25. Sex and the City 2 ($95.3M)

Of the 25, I saw 7, 4 of which were on a plane back to Australia from London and the other 3 I saw on DVD. I want to see Inception and the Deathly Hallows, but the others either leave me cold.

While I sometimes feel I may be missing whole pop culture references from this period of my life later on, but thanks to keeping abreast of blogs, websites and newspapers, I know what would be to my taste and what I want to spend my money on.

It takes a lot for me to shell out nearly $20 a ticket for a movie, plus babysitting (organisation and payment). DVDs are easier to watch, you can have captions and you can stop it if you need a loo break 🙂


Whip it

Whip It is the story of Bliss (Ellen Page from Juno) a high-school student  from a small town in Texas who wants more to life than beauty pageants. She chances upon roller derby in Austin, which gives her the confidence to deal with other apsects of her life, including her mother’s (Marcia Gay Harden) desire for Bliss to be a beauty pageant queen, as well as her romance with musician Oliver.

The film was written by Shauna Cross who adapted the screenplay from her own young-adult novel Derby Girl. The novel is itself a fictionalised account of Cross’ experiences in roller derby in Texas. The film is also the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, who plays a small role as a roller derby girl.

Ellen Page as Bliss is perfect for the role and gives the movie its dramatic cred. The supporting cast support her ably, including a particularly hammy performance from Juliette Lewis, as a roller derby girl from an opposing team.

It has an indie-film feel, thanks largely in part by a cool soundtrack, lack of incidental music and the cinematography which has a grungy feel. The depiction of the roller derby scene feels authentic.

It is an enjoyable movie, a bit lightweight, but would definitely appeal to the same young adult demographic to which the book was targeted. It may even make you want to put on a pair of skates and fishnets…

All is quiet on New Year’s Day…

U2, New Year’s Day

A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you
Be with you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year’s Day

It has been a quiet day, largely spent in the garden, although my world is green and brown rather than white!

While it feels just like any other day, it is usually a day of decisions and resolutions to many. As one year ends and another begins, it has taken on a day of being a turning point in people’s lives


1. Be brave. Meet whatever challenges or opportunities come my way this year. I think the first challenge may be turning 40 with grace and a big bang!

2. Learn to say no. I’m going to not volunteer for everything, because I can’t do it all- or rather I can do it, but in a half-assed way. I should accept my limitations and weaknesses and work to my strengths.

3. Remember what is most important- my little family, my friends, my health, both physical and mental. That may mean spending less time on the PC, which will be seen as a bonus by some :)…

oh, and brush up on my German and Italian, do more crochet and knitting, and read more…

I garden, therefore I am…

I am…

…amazed at what you can find in an overgrown garden- more bricks and pavers along the left hand side of the garden, which had been previously covered by mulch, dirt and pine fronds. Most of them are intact and will be used for edging the path…

…astounded at the tenacity of ivy, of which I am finding suckers everywhere…

…did not know that blackberries are part of the Rose family– and thanks to my sister inlaw Kerry, now I do 🙂

…glad of my gym workouts, which have seen me in good stead with bending and squatting to pull those tenacious weeds. I just need to remember to have a good stretch later, as well as a hot bath…

…compiling a list of things to get at Bunnings which includes plants, weedkiller,  a spray contraption to spray the weedkiller, a sledgehammer, a hose, and eventually, a lawnmower…

…wishing Santa Claus gave me a gift voucher for Bunnings for Christmas!

Operation Blitzkrieg

Hmmm…so much for blogging the 12 days of Christmas. The spirit was willing, but the internet connection was weak- nonexistent really. My sister in law is a firm believer of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and the presence of the internet would have her bringing work home.

So I took photos, and ate, went to the local falls and ate, drank wine and ate, and went out for coffee and ate. More of the Christmas road trip will be revealed over the next couple of days, when I attempt to catch up with my posts.

In the meantime, I am awaiting the arrival of a skip into which most of the backyard’s weeds, rose clippings and a fair few broken bricks will disappear. The backyard is set to be transformed from an overgrown wilderness to something with a lawn for the kids to play on, a paving of a barbecue area  and the planting of creepers to disguise the fence.

What’s more, we’re not letting the fact we’re not gardeners stand in the way of doing this :). I’ll keep you posted…

Cool Yule

I’ve been up since the crack of dawn and am keeping awake with regular cups of tea. Santa has been and we were notified at 6.15am by Master BG who discovered his stocking had been filled, the carrot left outside had been eaten and the snacks left out for the big man in red had been eaten. Oh, and there were presents in a sack under the tree…

Miss BG had the good sense to sleep through her brother’s hubbub, and awoke later. She was very excited with her presents and even more so by the fact that her dummy had been taken for the baby reindeer.

After a breakfast of pancakes, we are relaxing and will be heading to Geelong for Christmas dinner. Boxing Day will be spent travelling to Gippsland for the inlaw Christmas fest.

And so in a moment of madness (of which I seem to have a few), I agreed to blog for the 12 days of Christmas. Follow on twitter the #blog12daysxmas all the library tweeps which will be participating. With limited or uncertain internet connectivity over the next couple of days, I’ll be challenged, and may resort to a photo post. Think of it as a holiday version of the blog :).

Have a good day everyone, happy christmas, joyeux noël, felice navidad, buon natale, fröliche weinachten, nollag sona and a happy festivus!