Monday, 30 January 2017

After reading 65 books last year, I got inside of my own head and convinced myself that this year I wouldn't read anywhere near as much. I was convinced it was just a reading fluke and that this year I'd struggle to finish even one book per month, which is why I set myself a very low Goodreads goal of 12 books for the entire year. I felt that giving myself a goal would help push me to keep reading, but by making it a small goal, I wouldn't feel too much pressure and end up feeling like reading was something I had to do.

Now that January has ended, I realised I was stressing for no reason. I still love reading as much as I did last year, and I ended up reading six books throughout January, meaning I've already completed half of my goal. I'm still not sure I'll beat my record from last year, but my main concern is to read books I really want to read, as well as read a few more that are on the Rory Gilmore Challenge - which two of these books are. I'm looking forward to all the reading adventures that 2017 has in store for me.

The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank, by Ellen Feldman.

I read Anne Frank's diary sometime in 2014, I believe it was, and I absolutely loved it. Anne had a mind - and a heart - unlike any other person her age. She was wise beyond her years, and it's devastating what happened to her. Sometime after I finished the diary, I discovered that The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank existed. At first I was confused and thought it was a true story, and that Peter had somehow survived, but once I actually bought the book, I realised it was a "what if?" story. What if Peter had survived? How would he have spent his life?

I really did enjoy this book (then again, what books don't I enjoy?). Ellen had an interesting and very plausible idea of how she thinks Peter would have spent his life. Not one part of this book seemed farfetched or forced. I also liked that, even though this is a fiction book, it's filled with facts. She didn't change any key elements to the Anne Frank story - the diary, the museum, etc - except for the parts where Peter came face to face with other survivors, such as Otto, as they were clearly fabricated for the story. Somehow, I didn't actually know - or perhaps I forgot - that Otto survived, as well as the people who hid both families, so I'm very interesting in looking them up and finding out how they spent the remainder of their lives.

If anything, and this is definitely my hopeless romantic side saying this, I wish Peter spoke/thought about Anne and his feelings toward her - whether past or still present - more often, but once again, I understand why he was the way he was. You don't go through what he went through and come out a happy, cheerful person. Besides, he spent his whole life focused on moving on.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde.

What a peculiar book. The language itself is quite beautiful, although I did feel that there were many pages of description that were very much unneeded and only seemed to be there to stall the story, as if the author felt it was too short. Once they were finally over, the story quickly picked up again and took quite a turn. I try not to read much about books before I read them as I like to be surprised, and I definitely was with this one. I would certainly recommend this book if you're interesting in reading classics as it is not too long, and the language really is wonderful. Someone I have on Goodreads called Wilde the "king of description", and I don't think that's a far off statement.

Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller.

I picked up this book after reading its title on the Rory Gilmore Challenge, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it's only 112 pages long. That being said, it took me two days to read this book - rather than a couple of hours, like it should have - because I kept getting distracted. It wasn't a particularly gripping story, but I think it was more so the fact that I just don't enjoy reading plays. I find the stage directions confusing, and I often subconsciously skimmed over them, which would only confuse me more. Still, I'm happy to have crossed another book off the Rory Gilmore Challenge.

The Color Purple, by Alice Walker.

This is such an important book, which means that it wasn't an easy read, as so many important books aren't. It's full of abuse, racism, sexism and other kinds of injustice, which really got to me - but that's what it's supposed to. It's supposed to make you open your eyes and realise how people used to live. I quite enjoy reading historical books as I am always trying to learn about the world around me, and how it used to run.

The story is told through a series of letters written by the narrator Celie that are addressed to God (and, later, to Celie's sister). Celie is poor and uneducated, so it took me a while to fully grasp her letters as she does not use correct punctuation or spelling. The spelling errors weren't too difficult to decipher as things were usually spelt phonetically - such as "ast" instead of "asked" - but the absence of quotation marks did confuse me at times, as it wasn't always obvious whether Celie was actually quoting someone, or writing something directly to God. Nonetheless, this was a really good book. Definitely belongs on a must-read-at-least-once-in-your-life list.

Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham.

If you don't like negativity, you might want to skip ahead to the next book, as I have quite a bit to say about this one. I gave this book the benefit of the doubt when I really shouldn't have. Even the title annoys me, as "that kind of girl" is so often used to make women feel ashamed of their sex lives. I am not a fan of Lena Dunham at all, she is extremely problematic, but I had heard good things about this book, and when I saw it at an op shop, I decided to pick it up. At the very least, I would be helping charity. 

Five pages in and I was already cringing when she talked about her ex-boyfriend who "turned semi-gay" and stated that it was hard finding people to date whilst she was in college since was "over bisexuals". She also described someone who "dressed vaguely like a middle-aged lesbian", which was clearly intended as an insult, meaning that she was judging the way lesbians dress, as if they're all cookie cutters who act and dress the same way - which is a stupid and boring stereotype - but they weren't even the worst parts.

The worst parts were about her younger sister (by 6 years), who she shared a bed with while masturbating; bribed her to kiss her and "relax on her"; pried her legs open to look inside her vagina - which could be perceived as an innocent child curiosity, but her other actions and the fact that her parents weren't phased as that was "within the spectrum" of things she did make me question that - and said "basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a smile suburban girl, I was trying" about the way she treated her sister. What kind of editor or publisher can read that and think that's not horrible? Or, at the very least, not think about how the public might react?

At the very best, this book had some slightly amusing and brutally honest stories about the young adulthood, but her constant insults to anyone that wasn't like her, and her extremely blasé approach to drugs, ruined most of them.

Stolen, by Lucy Christopher.

This book was certainly different from every other book I've read. It's about a 16-year-old girl called Gemma who is kidnapped by someone who claims to love her (the blurb says that he expected her to love him back, but he never says that at all), and slowly she grows to love him back. She knows that what she's feeling is wrong, but she can't help it. It was truly emotional to read. I almost felt like I wanted them to end up together, which is what I'm assuming was Lucy's goal. She made the reader sympathise with the kidnapper, just like Gemma did - and, if you fell into that trap like I did, the ending was even harder, even though it was a happy ending. I love writing like that; that can trick you into feeling something just from the way it's worded. I'm still glad that it didn't end up that way, though. That would have been very unsettling to walk away from.

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell.

I actually read this in December, but I had already put up my Read In December post by the time I finished it, so I thought I'd include it in this post instead. I really love Rainbow Rowell, as a person as well as a writer. I follow her on Twitter, and she's always speaking up about something important. I read Eleanor and Park a while ago and loved it, and Fangirl is no different. It was an easy read - which is not a bad thing; I just mean that it merely flowed well. It wasn't hard to follow and I was invested instantly. I love books like that.

Even though it was not a major plot subject, I really like how Cath and her mother's relationship ended. Without revealing too much for those who haven't read it, let's just say that it's what they both deserved, and I don't think Wren should have been so forgiving. If you're a writer, I'll think you'll like this book even more, as both the main characters are writers - although, reading about writing just makes me want to write, but then I also don't want to stop reading! Ah, reader problems.


Until next time,
Indya xx

Friday, 27 January 2017

I am an adventure hoarder. Any event that I can go to, I will try my best to attend. That being said, I am also an adventure repeater; I often go on the same type of adventures, just at different locations. Circuses are one example of those adventures. Every year for the last three years, Daniel and I have gone to the circus. So far we have seen the Lennon Bros Circus, Silvers Circus, and now the Loritz Circus.

I always forget that the seating at circuses is very sub-par. There were four different sections, and we chose the second most expensive, thinking that'd give us a better viewing point, but it was all pretty much the same - apart from the VIP seats right in the front. No matter where you sat, it was on a plastic chair that threatened to break under your weight if you leant too far back. I really wasn't too fussed though, I love circuses and am always amazed by them, no matter how many times I've been.

After being to three different circuses, I've realised that a lot of the acts are very similar. You have your clowns, jugglers, ribbon climbers, etc - but I've also noticed that everyone has their own unique acts, too. For example, the Lennon Bros Circus is known for having lions as part of their acts. As far as I know, they're the only circus in Australia to feature lions (don't quote me on that though). The Loritz Circus, though, had some more unique acts.

I'm not going to talk about every act I saw because that'll just ruin it for anyone who may see this circus at some point, but I have to talk about one of them involving a horse, because it was so unlike anything I've seen before. This sweet old guy pretended he owned a motel and that the horse was a customer. It was quite humorous. The horse sat down on a chair at one point, and then laid in a bed later on - and every time the guy would take the blanket off the horse and say it was time to get up, the horse grabbed the blanket and pulled it back on himself. It was so freaking adorable.

Animals being in circuses does make me a little worried as you never know how they're treated off-stage, but this guy seemed to really love this horse. He was very kind and gentle, and the horse himself seemed very calm and looked well-fed.

My favourite parts, though, were the Wheel of Death and the Globe of Death. Once again, they're both common acts that I've seen at other circuses, but they're always amazing and breathtaking to watch. The Wheel of Death involves a guy running freely inside - and outside - a huge wheel while it spins around really high off the ground. In one of the photos below you can see him upside down inside of the wheel whilst it's spinning. It was absolutely terrifying to watch, but I just couldn't look away.

The Globe of Death involves three people on motorbikes, all riding inside one round, metal cage. It is so intense, but I love it. I would honestly pay the same price just to see these two acts. Photos just don't show off the vulnerability of it all; the fact that something could go wrong at any second. I don't usually like things that stress me out so much (who would?), especially since I struggle with anxiety, but these tricks are just too amazing not to see at least once in your life.

Daniel really is such a trooper when it comes to taking me out on little dates and adventures. He constantly jokes that he hates going outside and having to talk to people, but he's always up for taking me somewhere if I really want to go. 

He bought us tickets to Taylor Swift's 1989 tour in 2015, even though he hates music, because he knows how much I love her. It was a really long night - not to mention absolutely freezing, especially for him since he gave me his jacket - but he said it was worth it because he'd never seen me so happy and carefree. I really am very lucky to have him in my life.

Until next time,
Indya xx

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

My love for novelty items is increasing at a rapid pace. Not long after I bought my ice cream door stop, I started to think of other usually plain household items that I could get a novelty version of to help make my living space a little cuter, and boy did I find a lot!

There are some more expensive items that I'm slowly going to collect (house phone, tape dispenser, toothbrush holder) and will share with you as I do, but today I'm just going to talk about the cheap - but still cute! - office supplies that are on my home decor wish-list.

1. Ice cream pens.
For something that I never eat, I sure do have a lot of things shaped like ice cream! These are just so cute and adorable and delicious looking; I know just seeing them in my office would cheer me up.

You can get two for $5.11 (AUD) from Etsy.

2. Toast sticky notes.

These only have one review, and it's not a good one, but I like them because they remind me of something Daniel said a while ago. Plus, I love toast. A lot.

You can get them for $10.13 + $7.13 shipping (USD) from Amazon.

3. Donut paper clips.
I don't ever use or need paperclips, but that doesn't make me want these ones any less. I'm such a sucker for things shaped like donuts!

They're $3.39 (AUD) each from Etsy.

4. Nail lacquer USB.
There are so many awesome novelty USBs out there, but my current obsession with all things pink makes me want this one the most. It would look so cute next to this high heel shaped tape dispenser.

You can get this from Amazon for $9.99 (USD).

5. Chocolate notebook.
As a writer, I never feel like I have enough notebooks - even though I do because I'm not even using all the ones I own - and it's taking a lot of self control not to buy myself this one right now.

AliExpress has this one for $7 (USD) with free shipping to Australia. Brown versions are cheaper though!

6. Lollipop erasers.

There are so many adorable erasers out there! Part of me wants to start collecting them, but I know that I already collect way too many things and I'd rather invest in my favourite collections (enamel pins, Sailor Moon things, Pokemon things, etc) than waste money starting a new collection that I know I won't love as much. Still, I'm pretty sure I only own one eraser - the same one I had back in year seven - so I might eventually buy myself a couple of cute ones just to complement my office decor.

You can get a pack of 3 of these erasers for $2.99 (AUD) on eBay.


Until next time,
Indya xx

Monday, 23 January 2017

I try not to mention it too much on here, but I get sad quite often. It's something that I just can't help. My lifestyle and general mental health have both improved so much over the last 3-4 years, but there's still so many things that I struggle with, and one of them is that - mainly when I'm at home, and especially when I'm alone - I get sad a lot.

Don't get me wrong, I love my life and I feel so lucky to be where I am, who I am, living the way I do. I know that so many people have it so much worse than me - I personally have already had it so much worse than I do now - but I can't help feeling down sometimes. It comes on at random times, often for no reason. It's mostly when I'm alone and I'm not preoccupied by another person or work, etc. 

try not to fixate on it and instead focus on something else, but I often can't think of anything to do and instead I just sit there, letting the bad thoughts roll around in my head. I don't like doing that, so I decided to write a list of things I can do to help cheer myself up next time I feel down, and I decided to share it on here as a bit of a getting-to-know-me post. Plus, I think it's very important to address mental health issues and reduce the stigma behind it.

1. Read.
This will be a blatantly obvious suggestion to anyone who has read any of my Sunday Savings or Read In... posts, but I still wanted to include it. Reading makes me so happy... most of the time. Sometimes I do force myself to read books that don't interest me all that much simply because they're "classics", but I always feel good about myself when I finish them. It's not that they're bad, because I'm usually quite interested in their plots, it's just the older language can make my brain fall asleep. Regardless, whether I'm reading a book for fun, or reading a book because I feel like I should, I always feel great when I've finished it. Time is never wasted if I've spent it reading.

2. Watch TV Shows.
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine: I've watched this show more than any other show (Friends used to hold that title), and I could continuously re-watch it every single day and not get sick of it. I love this show. Admittedly it's mostly because seeing Jake and Amy pine over each other really tugs at my heart strings, but there's so much more than that. I love Terry Crews' character, and how he's so tough but also has a big heart. Boyle, who just wants to find love, and absolutely adores his best friend Jake. Gina, who has more self confidence than anyone I've ever known. Rosa, who is so badass but is also a huge softie. Captain Holt, who is just fantastic and hilarious, and has a very important backstory. Most of all, though, it makes me laugh and it's easily my number one pick-me-up because it's always guaranteed to make me feel better.

- Jane the Virgin: This show is so addictive. It's actually not a show I would go to for a pick-me-up, as it is super stressful and heart-wrenching, but it's definitely something I watch whenever I'm bored. There's never a dull moment in it. Plus, I am always trying to diversify what I watch, but Australian Netflix doesn't really have much to choose from.

- The Big Bang Theory: I'm aware that a lot of people don't like this show, but I love it. I've loved it since it started and I will love it well after it is finished. I've really enjoyed watching the character and writing development. It has come so far from being about a dumb blonde, an downright jerk and a desperate-for-love loser. Penny is confident, smart and independent now; Leonard is much more sure of himself; and Sheldon is practically a completely different person. Even Raj grew to be more confident, and Howard got himself in order too (well, not 100%, but there's still been a huge improvement). Plus there's two more main girl characters now, who are both scientists, and who I admire so much. This show has a permanent place within my heart.

3. Shop.
I have a shopping problem, I'm well aware of that. Before I moved out I never used to buy myself anything because it would make me feel so unbelievably guilty (I also had no money because someone would always "borrow" it and not give it back, but that's not what this post is about), but once we started living on our own and I actually got to keep my own money, I started shopping and practically haven't stopped since.

90% of what I own I have bought in the last 11 months. I have spent so much money on clothes, jewellery, make-up, knickknacks, books, bags, pop culture items, and - my latest obsessed - enamel pins. I have spent hundreds on them already. I can't deny it though, shopping makes me happy. Super happy. I am all about trying to make my home a happy environment so my random feelings of sadness don't happen as often, which is how I justify most of my purchases. I bought a $20 door stop just because it's shaped like an ice cream, even though we already had a door stop that we barely use. I'm a sucker things shaped like other things - particularly if those things are shaped like food!

4. Distract myself.
Reading really is my favourite thing to do, but if I'm feeling really down, I'm just not able to give books the attention they need, so I'll do something that doesn't require me to focus as much. These things include listening to music, online window shopping, playing my DS, or going on Pinterest. I actually hardly ever play my DS, but I do love it. I love Animal Crossing (I have both Wild World and New Leaf) and Pokemon (I have ten Pokemon games, but I'm currently playing Sun) the most.

Out of all these things, Pinterest is the one I do the most. It's just so addictive and often inspires me to write, do a DIY project, cook something, or/and organise the house, so I don't always feel like it's a waste of time afterwards.

Depending what kind of mood I'm in, cleaning and organising can also be really relaxing and uplifting, especially if I'm going through my stuff and looking for things to get rid of. I own so much stuff, and I live in a small space, so it can feel quite crowded and cluttered at times, and doing a spring clean always makes me feel better.

Until next time,
Indya xx

Friday, 20 January 2017

Travelling is my number one dream and life goal. I want to see as much of the world as I can. I used to be so desperate to move to somewhere far away like Canada or Japan, and I probably still would if the opportunity ever came up (especially if it was to Canada... everyone is so nice there - and it snows!), but I have definitely grown to appreciate where I live as I've gotten older.

I understand why so many people want to live in Australia. We are really lucky with our health care and schooling options; plus Melbourne itself has been named the most liveable city for the last 6 years, and I can see why. I really do love this place. It's got its downsides, as every city does, but I still think it's pretty great. Today I felt like showing you some photos I've taken over the last few years that I think capture even a small part of Melbourne's beauty. Hope you enjoy!

Until next time,
Indya xx

Monday, 16 January 2017

I kept a memory jar back in 2014 (pictured here), and since then I've always thought about that year as the best year of my life. The fact that I finally got to move away from a horrible town, and that it was also the year I turned 18, probably had a lot to do with that, but I also think it was partly because I kept a memory jar. I kept track of every good thing that happened, no matter how big or small, and at the end of the year I was able to look back on them all and relive each happy memory.

2016 wasn't the easiest year, but it was still one of the greatest years of my life. I finally have my own life, where I get to make all my own decisions, and best of all, I get to share all my great experiences with my best friend and boyfriend, Daniel. Now, I am determined to make 2017 even better. Unlike in last year, 2017 didn't begin with a life-altering event to dampen the start of this year. In fact, this year started out perfectly - watching an array of gorgeous fireworks, wrapped in Daniel's arms - and I'd like to keep that magic around all year.

I am aware that there are quite a lot of people are doing memory jars this year, but I don't think that's any reason not to do one. I used to constantly deny myself the things I enjoyed because I didn't want to seem like I was following the crowd, but I can honestly say my life has gotten so much better since I got rid of that negative mindset. Simply allowing yourself to enjoy the things that you actually enjoy makes life so much better - so, yes, a lot of people are doing memory jars this year, and I am one of them.


The only thing I don't like about memory jars is that all those memories just sit in a jar collecting dust, so at the end of this year I am going to put all the memories into a scrapbook with corresponding photos and other memorabilia. I love scrapbooking and journaling (which I wrote a post about here), and I also make a memory book every year for mine and Daniel's anniversary (here's the first and third one, if you're interested), so this project is right up my ally. I've already got so many ideas for it. Plus, it's been making me use my camera a lot more, which is always a good thing!

I browsed through some secondhand stores for a cute jar that I liked, but didn't end up finding one that particularly stood out to me, so I just got this little fish bowl from a variety store instead. It's pretty plain looking at the moment so I'm thinking about writing "memory jar" on it, or something along the lines of that, either with stickers or a permanent marker. Either way, I know it's what's inside that counts, and I'm super excited to start filling this baby up even more with happy memories!

Until next time,
Indya xx

Friday, 13 January 2017

On Monday night I had my work Christmas party at SkyHigh in Mount Dandenong. SkyHigh is a popular tourist attraction because of its breathtaking view of Melbourne, but it's also known for its restaurant and function venues. The drive up there is quite scary, as the roads are very narrow and there are trees everywhere, but it's also incredibly pretty.

We had our own function room with our own balcony. The function room was huge. There were 40 or so of us in there (I think..), but we could have easily all fit in there 3 or 4 times over without feeling squished. There were massive glass windows all around us as well, so we were able to look out at the amazing view whilst we ate.

I'm not sure if every function is the same, but our dinner was buffet-style, where you grabbed a plate and walked along the line of food, picking up what you'd like, before going back to your table to eat.

The desserts were different though; they were brought out to us on platters by the workers while we mingled on the balcony or stayed sitting on the tables. The people working there were very nice, and they didn't even roll their eyes when I asked if I could take photos of the desserts!

Our balcony was also quite spacious, and not only did it have the iconic view of Melbourne, but it was also above the outdoor eating area and other lookout points too, so it really did feel like we were on top of the world.

The view was spectacular, but impossible to get good photos of. It was really foggy during the day so you couldn't see very far, but it was amazing watching the sun set and seeing all the lights illuminate below as it got dark. My camera really didn't do the view any justice at all, but hopefully you get the idea.

The managers also gave out awards, as they do every year. People who have been there for 3+ years received plaques and other awards for having worked there so long, and then there were awards for each role (cook, trainer, etc), people who have improved the most, and so on.

I got a box of Lindt chocolates and two Gold Class tickets for my great customer service, which made me so happy. I know a lot of people hate customer service, but I don't. I love talking to people and people love talking to me. One of the things my manager said whilst giving me my award is that people often write how nice I am when filling out our feedback surveys, which is lovely. It's always nice to be appreciated.


All in all, it was a really nice night. I have the best work colleagues, and it was great to be able to spend time with them that wasn't interrupted by us having to work. I feel really lucky to have a job that I like, with colleagues that I love, as most people often don't feel that way about work.

Until next time,
Indya xx

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

I am obsessed with Pinterest, there's no doubt about that. I have 39 public boards, and 20 'secret' ones. I love being able to keep all my ideas and inspiration in one place, and it's one of the only activities that can completely distract me when I'm feeling really anxious and/or down. Plus, it's also the place that I find most of things for these posts!

One thing I really like about Pinterest is that it shows you certain things based on what you often pin, so ever since I pinned those super cute collar bookmarks that I talked about in my last WILW post, I've been seeing so many other adorable bookmarks that I just have to share with you guys.

1. Pokemon,
I'm sure it's not going to surprise anyone that I love these bookmarks, as I am very open about my love of Pokemon. These are so cute (and handmade!), and I can practically see their little legs wriggling as they're trying to get in between the pages.

2. Witch legs.
There's nothing better than a bookmark that references an actual book - especially a cult favourite like The Wizard of Oz - and I find the ruby redness of her shoes contrasts beautifully with the black and white stripes.

3. Sailor Moon (magnetic).
Sailor Moon is one of my most favourite things ever, and I love collecting things with her weapons and other "tools" on them. I have an enamel pin and a choker of the Crisis Moon Compact, which is the one at the end, and I'm dying to get everything Sailor Moon-related from this Etsy.

If Sailor Moon isn't your thing (gasp!), but you still like the idea of magnetic bookmarks, they also have Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, and other pop culture themed ones as well.

4. Lamp.
I think I like this one purely because it reminds me of the Pixar lamp (most likely for no reason other than they're both lamps), but it's still pretty cute. By the looks of it the yellow bit isn't actually that long, so I'd be worried it would fall out easily, but I like that it appears to be 'highlighting' the page. It's almost as though you could actually use this bookmark as a reading light - now that would be cool!

5. Donuts.
These bookmarks are great because they're donuts, they're free, they feature a pun, and they're easy to make. You just download the template, print, fold them in half, and glue! I think I might make them just for the novelty of them, even though I only ever use my ones from Book Depository or Cassy Fry.

6. Cabaret Legs.
I know I've talked about this shop a lot in this post, but I just love their items! I've never seen a cabaret show or anything even close to it, but I really like this bookmark because it's just so pretty and feminine. Plus, I still have a soft spot for fishnet leggings, even though I haven't worn them since 2012 - or perhaps even before that.

7. Magical Girl weapons.
I am so, so in love with these bookmarks. Both Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura were my childhood, and I love that you get all five of them for only $9 - although I just noticed that shipping to Australia is $19, so I guess I won't be getting these anytime soon! They're designed for you to cut out, but I'd probably keep them as they are as I wouldn't trust my cutting out abilities, and I feel like they'd bend easier once they were cut out.

Until next time,
Indya xx

Monday, 9 January 2017

I've always been somewhat averse to kindle books, as I like to collect physical books. As much as I do love and rely on technology, I couldn't imagine life without physical books and writing on paper, but something changed in 2016. I read a lot more than I have ever before, which meant I was spending more money on books. I didn't want to stop buying more books, but I was a lot more aware of how much money I was spending on them.

In December, I discovered that Amazon offers a ton of free kindle books. Like, HEAPS. As much I love to collect books, I couldn't resist getting so many for free. I ended up downloading over 300 in one day. I decided to do a separate post about the kindle books that I read - instead of including them in my monthly reads posts - so anyone who is looking to score some free books can read these posts and see if anything piques their interest. Some of them will be well-known classics (Amazon has so many free classics available!), and others will be quite random ones that I've never heard of, but still intrigued me nonetheless.

The Universe Doesn't Give A Flying F*ck About You, by Johnny B. Truant.

I am a very sensitive and soft person. I never used to be, though. Once upon a time, nothing could make me cry, but 2010 came around and it's almost like I've been in tears ever since then. I'm not complaining though, I'm sure it's healthier to feel all the things rather than feeling nothing at all. Anyway, I thought this book was going to make me feel insignificant and upset, but it didn't. It was just blunt enough that I could take it and not feel personally attacked. It was actually quite a nice reality check. It's very short at a mere 13 pages, but it definitely got its point across.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I can still remember this movie coming out when I was 12. I was instantly intrigued and wanted to know what happened, but I never got the chance to watch it, and I only recently discovered that it was a book first. It's a very unique story, and quite fast-paced. Unlike in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald doesn't concern himself as much (or at all) with poetic language in this book, but rather focuses on telling the story, and telling it quickly. I am even more intrigued to watch the movie now, to see how they turned this novella into a 2 hour and 45 minute movie. It was a nice, quick read; and it feels like an accomplishment within itself to have completed another one of F. Scott Fitzgerald's works.

The Insomniac Manifesto: Ramblings of a Sleep Deprived Mind, by Sascha Saintevic.
I saw the first three words of this kindle book's title and instantly downloaded it, thinking it was about insomnia, its causes and what it's like to live with it - but I was completely wrong. Instead, it's filled with random thoughts that the author has had throughout her life. They aren't in any sort of order or categories, it's just as though she wrote down each one of these thoughts and when she decided there was enough, published it as a kindle book. Some of the things she said were relatively funny and maybe even slightly insightful, but it just wasn't what I was expecting.

The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
I really enjoyed this book! At first I took it as just a story about Jane's decent into madness, but after reading about the symbolism of the yellow wallpaper and the woman behind it on SparkNotes, I'm even more amazed. Unfortunately, I am not one to be able to pick up on symbolism very easily - I remember quite clearly sitting in literature class in high school and having all the discussions go completely over my head - but it still interests me, which is why I'm thankful the internet exists, as I was always too shy to ask for help in class. Regardless of whether symbolism interests you or not, this story is still enjoyable, and it really makes you feel for Jane as you see her having to deal with the people around her thinking that simply resting will cure her depression.

Most of the kindle books I downloaded are quite small, so in theory I should be able to get through them fairly quickly, but I know I'll always prefer reading physical books, so it'll be quite some time before I read all the kindle books I have. Regardless, I'll always keep you updated on the books I do read, kindle or otherwise!

Until next time,
Indya xx

Friday, 6 January 2017

Daniel and I attended the early bird fireworks held at Yarra Park on New Year's Eve. Public transport was free after 6pm (yay!), so we couldn't complain too much that we had to get off the train halfway and get onto a very crowded bus for the rest of the trip.

We got to Yarra Park around 9pm and walked around for a little while. It was a really nice night, and there were kids everywhere with glow sticks and bubble wands (which I'm so bringing this year if we do anything for New Year's). It was a such a peaceful atmosphere; very family-friendly and safe feeling. 

The fireworks went off at 9:30 and they were amazing. I absolutely love fireworks - which is why Daniel suggested that we go out, because he knew I'd want to see some, and there weren't any being set off in our town.

Since we were already so close to the city, we decided to go and see the midnight fireworks as well. Being in the city at night made us both a little nervous, especially on such a busy night, but once we got there we felt fine. We had no idea what we were going to do until midnight, but that didn't matter as it took us until ten past eleven to actually get to the city. 

The nearest train station to Yarra Park was so full that security told everyone it would be faster to walk to the next station, which is what we did. One side of the road was completely blocked off so pedestrians could get through the tunnels. That was actually a pretty cool aspect of the night; it's not often (or at all) that we walk through tunnels at night - especially within a crowd of hundreds.

The city was packed. We were completely blown away by how many people there were, but it was good because it made you feel safe and that, if something went wrong, someone would be there to help. Once we'd walked through the tunnel and over a bridge, we ended up at Alexandra Gardens. 

I was starving, but we had a really good view of the water - which is where everyone thought the fireworks would be - and didn't want to risk losing it. Besides, we had no idea where to get any food, so we decided just to sit down and wait for the fireworks.

At midnight, the fireworks went off all around us. Everyone had been facing the water, thinking they'd be set off there, but they were set off in so many different areas that no one knew where to look. I know I saw at least five different spots where they were being set off, but there were even more behind some tall buildings that we couldn't see properly. 

It really was amazing. Every time some would go off, you'd have to quickly turn around to look, and before you knew it, more would be going off in the other direction. It was more or less the same group of fireworks at each spot, which I thought was nice as it meant that pretty much no matter where you were in the city, you could see at least some of the fireworks.

I tried to get lots of photos, but I also just wanted to be there in the moment. This is mine and Daniel's fourth New Year's together, our fourth kiss at midnight on December 31st, and it was the first time we'd been in the city at night, just the two of us. It was really nice. Everyone around us just seemed to fade away and all I saw was Daniel, and the fireworks.

The trip home was definitely not as fun. As soon as the fireworks were over, we practically started running back to the train station to try and beat the crowd. We had wanted to leave before they were finished, but the crowd was way too thick to get through. It didn't take too long to get to the station, but it took quite a while to get onto a train. The first one that arrived filled up before we could get on, so we had to wait until the next one, which wasn't for another half an hour.

We stood right at the yellow line so we could be first on - then, just before it arrived, the screens swapped and said it was going to arrive on the other side, which was absolutely packed, so we couldn't get on. We waited again for the next one, and made sure we got on this time. We had to swap to a bus halfway again, and then walk, so it was after 2am by the time we got home.

I was exhausted afterwards, but very happy nonetheless. We'd had a nice night out, I'd gotten some good photos, and best of all, we weren't going to wake up feeling awful since we didn't drink! I haven't drunk in nearly a year, and I never regret not drinking when we go out. It's just so nice to come home and not feel sick for the next day or two.

I had been nervous about 2017, but it really hasn't felt any different so far. I've been doing typical New Year's stuff, such as making goals and getting rid of a lot of stuff I don't need, but other than that, it feels just like any other day. Hope you all had a safe and fun New Year's Eve!

Until next time,
Indya xx