Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 05

It has to be said: how crazy is it that we're entering the final month of 2016?! The year started off quite slowly and then just went full speed ahead from June onward. I have no doubt in my mind that these final few weeks will also go by in a flash which, to me, seems an even better reason than any to continue 'Wonderful Wednesday' each week so everything doesn't just become one big blur.

Here are some Wonderful things from the past week
Picking up my brother from the airport My brother and his girlfriend are now home after a whirlwind six weeks spent traveling around Europe. It's kind of weird in a way that he's back, because I don't see him all that often at the best of times. The other day I caught myself wondering what he was getting up to overseas...only to remember he's home. It's just nice knowing he's safe and we can plan a proper catch up, hopefully in the near future! I can't wait to see all his travel photos.

Laughing with my sister I feel so lucky to not only get on with my brother, but to have an even stronger bond with my sister. Life has been stressful for us both of late, especially for her as she's had exams to battle with. While it may seem silly, I love nothing more than getting into hysterics over silly memes with her and performing duets of High School Musical, Hairspray and Chainsmokers' numbers.

Chai almond butter I made this the other day following the recipe from 26 Grains and holy moly, it is just about the most delicious condiment that has ever graced my taste buds. I've been eating it out of the jar, on toast, with fruit and am envisioning it on top of pancakes with a drizzle of maple syrup. It is just so damn good.

People in general There's been a countless number of instances lately in which people have been approaching me and saying 'you look familiar'. In each instance, I discovered these people used to frequent the cafe I worked at throughout university. Each person I've come across would always have such lovely things to say about how they really valued the service I gave. It really warmed my heart to know that I could positively affect the people I've come across without even knowing it. It has really helped to perk me up too over periods in which I've felt particularly down. A little kindness goes a long way and I feel more inspired than ever to do my best to make someone's day better.

Perth Upmarket I spent Sunday perusing local businesses with a good friend of mine, feasting on artisan marshmallows and perfectly brewed honey chai. It really got me into the festive mood and I look forward to attending more Christmas markets in December.

 What Wonderful Things have happened to you the past week?

  *Image taken at a new concept store/cafe in Fremantle (aka my fave place)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Small Business Saturday x #localloves | Stackwood

For as long as I've had this blog (and others in the past), it only recently struck me how little the content I produce is related to my home city and specifically, the small businesses that make it unique. As much of a wanderluster I am, I still very much adore where I live, and I feel like Perth and the small, dedicated business owners here deserve a bit of time in the spotlight.

Perth has really come into it's own over the past few years. It's hard to keep up with all the new businesses, cafes and cultural projects that continue to pop up. As a result, the city has become such a vibrant place. Although some may harp on about how much infinitely better places over east are in comparison, I think we've got it pretty good here. After being invited by Fundera to take the pledge for Small Business Saturday on the 26 November, I felt inspired to write about a favourite small business of mine. Despite the fact that 'Small Business Saturday' is a U.S based initiative, as an advocate for shopping local, I was only too happy to spread the word. It also sparked what will hopefully become a recurring feature on Windswept Wishes: #localloves. These posts will see me explore the places that I love most about Perth, Western Australia.

Stackwood is an incredible example of a thriving small business that sets itself apart from retail chains. The owners love what they do and do everything they can to showcase and support local talent and their livelihoods. Located in suburban Fremantle, this creative venue/concept store/cafe is indicative of the city of Fremantle's creative spirit. With a mission to 'encourage a more wholesome way of living', Stackwood is a community oriented space which regularly hosts workshops, holds markets and food swaps and celebrates local producers, makers and service providers through their concept store. The warehouse is sure to get the creative juices flowing as the space looks like those you may find on Pinterest.

Stacked cafe is also one of my favourite places to swing by for a perfect cup of coffee. Their intentions to support local businesses also extends to the food on the counter (such as freshly baked donuts by glazed and confused) and the beans in their grinder (Pound).

Over the numerous times I have visited Stackwood, it has always been well patronized by locals. That, my friends, is a telling sign as any that you know you're onto something good.

Store opening hours are Tuesday-Sunday. Cafe opening hours are Wednesday-Sunday. Find out more here

To celebrate Small Business Saturday, I encourage any U.S readers (and anyone for that matter!) to get out there and explore your local area and support a local small business especially over the festive season.

*Disclaimer: I was not paid by Fundera to publish this post. Desire to take part and 'Take the Pledge' was inspired by my sincere love and passion for local initiatives and businesses.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Inspiring Artists | Britt Dunbar

With bold colours, striking compositions and satisfying brush strokes, Britt Dunbar's life sized works have the power to enrapture. An award winning Western Australian artist, Britt paints her surrounds and brings stunning vivacity to her depictions of still life and landscapes.

When I volunteered for and saw this year's Artist Open House Fremantle, I was transfixed by Dunbar's work. I was awash with a wave of emotion, the same kind I felt when tears began to prick behind my eyes and my chest started to swell seeing Monet's works in the flesh at the Musee d'Orsay. It was a feeling of joy at pure beauty and talent; and what a privilege that such talent exists in and has emerged out of the place I call home.

Images sourced from Artist Open House website

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 04

Phew, what a busy week it has been. My shifts have picked up which I'm really happy about but also, the weekend was filled to the brim with general loveliness.

Here are some wonderful things from a wonderful week...

Volunteering at Artist Open House Fremantle. This is my absolute favourite arts/cultural event in Perth. AOHF is a three day event which sees homeowners open up their space to local artists so they can exhibit their work to the public. Taking place in Fremantle, the event is a walking trail consisting six houses and over 24 talented artists. It's an especially exciting event for devoted art collectors, but also for art enthusiasts like myself. I always walk away from the event feeling incredibly inspired by the art but am also left in a daydream state envisaging my ideal home. It was so rewarding knowing that I could help out for an initiative which gives exposure to some outstanding artists.

Spending time with my pal from London and attending the festival of light. As I mentioned in last week's 'Wonderful Wednesday' post, a good friend of mine who I met in London recently moved to Perth. She also volunteered at AOHF so we had plenty of time to catch up and chat. On Sunday evening, we went to the Festival of Light in Joondalup. Her being really big into art and photography, she always motivates me to get out there, see more and see differently. Our adventures together are never ordinary!

Pizza and mini golf with friends. I had a much needed catch up with two friends on Saturday evening over delicious pizza. We then attended the launch of a contemporary exhibition located in an abandoned basement. It was unlike any exhibition I have been to as it combined mini golf and art. We spent what felt like hours playing the 19 holes of mini golf and having a general riot of a time.

Delicious cheese toasties and coffee on my break. For the whole month of November, Yelp Perth has partnered with a number of cafes and restaurants to offer freebies upon check in. One of my favourite city haunts, Toastface Grillah, offered a free coffee with a toastie, which was just what I needed to break up a long shift and revive me for the rest of the day.

A catch up over coffee. Another friend of mine recently returned from a trip overseas so we caught up in the city for a quality cup of coffee in the stunning Treasury Building.

Get an added dose of wonderfulness with other ‘Wonderful Wednesdays’ posts found all over the bloggersphere. Check out creator of 'Wonderful Wednesday' Sally Tangle along with posts by Jo, Helen,Michelle, Sarah, Kate, Cat, Sam, ElKerri, Jasmin and Lynsey.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wonderful Wednesday? 03

In light of today's events, I hesitated posting this. What could be wonderful about arguably one of the most horrifying Wednesdays of the year? What began as an optimistic day spiraled into one filled with dread. Like thousands, millions, of people around the world, I found myself on the edge of my seat, following along with the US Election. Not quite believing what I was witnessing, I felt more agitated, more fearful, more filled with despair than I ever have before while reading live updates. It was so easy to succumb to despair.

I struggle between wanting to avoid the news entirely on my blog and feeling it's an obligation to follow along with current affairs. I wrote of my frustration in a previous post here. I feel things far too deeplyand  collapse under the weight of a world filled with so much hate. I want to be a part of a generation that changes and challenges that, but by god, sometimes it's a nightmare and I lose all hope.

But despite all this, what would life be if it weren't for hope? Sometimes the only things that keep me going are the little things I can be grateful for every single day. They may not solve the world's problems but at least they give me something to cling on to. In saying this, I acknowledge that I come from a background of privilege and I worry if these kinds of posts may seem 'airy fairy'. Posting what may seem as self-indulgent in light of recent events almost struck me as irreverent to the seriousness of what has just unfolded and what it means for the future. But this blog is, above all else, a positive outlet for me and these 'Wonderful Wednesday' posts in particular have really been helping me through some problems, fears and insecurities in my life, so I see no shame in reflecting on positivity. When the whole world seems to be going to shit, there are still wonderful people who exist, wonderful things to be grateful for and wonderful things to look forward to.

So without further ado, here are things I have been grateful for the past week.

Catch ups with wonderful people. Now that the university semester is winding down, I have been able to meet up with a couple of friends (in between their hectic study schedules). On Saturday, one of my closest friends and I had iced matcha to cool down on the very hot 37 degree day. I also met up for lunch with another close friend before she jets off to Taiwan today for a month. On Sunday, I briefly met up with a friend who I met in London. Our paths first crossed in June on the Oh Comely forest walk in Epping. I never would have thought that I'd make such a lovely friend that day who just so happened to be moving to Perth. What are the chances, right? Sometimes life is full of surprises.

Visits to galleries. I had quite the cultural fix over the past week, taking a trip to the Art Gallery of WA. I also squeezed in a visit to Fremantle Arts Centre and I was reminded how beautiful it really is. Formally an asylum, the place has quite a sad history, but it's nice that something so positive has come out of it today.

Passing my driving test! I am particularly over the moon about this one! I don't know about other countries, but the first (and most brutal) test that is required after the initial theory test to get a Learner license in Australia is the practical test. I had been putting off driving and going for my practical test for years; when everyone else got their licenses at around 17, I was still too afraid to even get into the drivers seat. Initially failing the practical test twice this year also didn't help with my nerves or confidence! I feel so proud that I have now not only passed the practical test, but I actually want to drive and no longer fear it. I still have to do 25 hours of supervised driving over the next six months before I can take the Hazard Perception test (and hopefully pass that to get my Ps), but I am so relieved to have the hardest hurdle over with.

Finding a street library in my neighborhood. I first came across the existence of Street Libraries over on my favourite website Khoollect. I wasn't aware of all that many in Perth and the closest Street Library was hardly all that nearby. You can hazard a guess, then, at my excitement upon discovering one in my very own neighborhood by chance after having to take a detour. I picked up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which I have been meaning to read forever and so far I'm enjoying it.

Image credit: kicks // lauren aquilina

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Read in October

You know how sometimes you go through those funny reading slumps? Where you have so much promising material but for whatever reason, you lack the motivation to read at all? Well, October was that kind of month for me, which is fine, but it seems I put unnecessary pressure on myself and feel oddly 'guilty' when I haven't been reading as frequently as I normally would. As much as I would ideally like to reach my reading goal this year, the moment reading becomes the semblance of a chore, the less I enjoy it, understandably. So from now on, I'm going to accept that reading slumps happen. They don't last forever after all. Sometimes you just have to let it be.

As a result of last month's reading efforts, this post will be nice and short and sweet.

Vinegar Girl - Anne Tyler
“Funny how you have to picture losing a thing before you think you might value it after all.”
I had seen the cover of this book floating around the internet over the past year and it piqued my interest because of how beautiful it is. I was hesitant to pick it up initially as I have never read Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, of which this novel is a retelling. Nonetheless, I went with it in the end, as I had heard rave reviews by the likes of Sanne (bookandquills) on Youtube. I'm afraid that my overall opinion of Vinegar Girl may fall short of its true merit as I was obviously unable to draw parallels to the original tale by Shakespeare and therefore cultivate an informed critique. For what it's worth though, this book is an easy, quirky and enjoyable read. Anne Tyler does a marvelous job of making the scenario, of a father trying to marry off his very high strung daughter, as credible as it could ever get, especially in a contemporary context. It must've been no easy feat! After reading this reinterpretation, I'm keen to check out the others to come by Hogarth. 3/5

Beauty is a Wound - Eka Kurnawan
 "One afternoon on a weekend in March, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years."
This novel was lent to me by a close friend with high recommendation. She struggled at the time to give me a succinct overview of what it's about, and having now read it, I can understand why: it is quite an epic novel! In addition to one of the most compelling opening lines I've ever come across (see above) and my friend stating that I would 'never expect the twist at the end' (which happens to inspire the title) I was excited to get into it. I have to be honest though and note that it took longer than I expected to get through it, which is to no fault of the writing. Beauty is a Wound is quite a dark satire and damning commentary on the history of Indonesia. Approaching the subject matter therefore, as a reader with very little understanding of Indonesia's history, was a challenging and slow process but at the same time rewarding as I was able to engage in further reading about certain reference points I didn't quite understand. Yet, even if I didn't get so involved in understanding the context of all the events as they unfolded, the novel can be read and enjoyed simply because it is so well written and there's so much going on that I didn't lose interest.  There's war, colonialism, fairy tales and legends, communism and stories of love all thrown into the mix. What I loved above all was the focus on the five main female protagonists, consisting an Indonesian-Dutch prostitute Dewi Ayu and her four daughters. Through reading about their lives leading to their tragic ends, I realised that it's not often I come across a narrative which presents such vibrant and multifaceted female characters. While a challenging read, it was highly worthwhile. It both excited and shocked me throughout. 4/5

What did you read in October and what books do you hope to read this month?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wonderful Wednsday 02

It feel like I was just typing up last week's Wonderful Wednesday post and now here I am once more! In just a week, the weather has gone from strength to strength, elevating my mood. One downside though is hay fever...but I think it's a worthwhile trade off for sunny skies.

Here are some other things that I have been grateful for:

Coffee with mum at our new local. We recently discovered an absolutely gorgeous cafe and florist all in the one space. The owners are such genuine and beautiful people that we always feel welcome the minute we walk through the door. Coffee always lifts my spirits and I'm now also becoming a firm believer that flowers have the power to boost my mood almost instantaneously. They always make me smile!

Attending two 21st birthdays. As it always seems to go, I had two events to attend on the one night, but as a result I got to catch up with so many people from way, way back. It's so interesting finding out what people have been up to, but more so reassuring to know we're all in the same boat as we decide what to do after our studies finish up. It put me at ease knowing we all have each others back and there's support there when it's needed. Aside from that, eating good food, drinking rosé and reminiscing about school days is always fun.

Attending my first Xtend Barre Class. I have been itching to form some sort of exercise routine for a while now. I'm not very knowledgeable about fitness at all, but I knew that running and the gym were out of question as I've tried them before and I loathed it. I decided on Xtend Barre as I used to do jazz and tap in the past and I realised I enjoyed the 'dance workout' the most. Xtend Barre is a little different though, as it focuses on simple but effective movements (mostly drawing on the basics of ballet) that improve overall strength. I was saturated with sweat and the class was no easy feat, but by the end, I was feeling that wonderful sense of invigoration you gain after exercising. I'm really hoping to continue on with classes and can't wait to see what positive improvements it will make on my overall health and fitness.

Doing my first trial shift at Kikki K It was so exciting being on the floor and getting 'back into the game' so to speak. There are so many lovely products I'm going to find it quite difficult not to spend all my earnings on new diaries, pens and cute home ware bits!

Blogging. I feel like I'm really getting my mojo back and I've never had so many ideas nor the motivation to write as I do now! I mentioned on my twitter that I have been contemplating doing blogmas this year and I'm now determined to see it through. I think it will be a rewarding challenge!

Writing in my journal. I've never been a particularly consistent with my journaling, but I'd like to change that. Lately, I have had so many thoughts swirling around in my head and keeping me up late at night. Once I started writing these things down, I noticed a considerable improvement in my stress levels. I've also been inspired to give bullet journaling a go and have so far found it has done wonders to spike my motivation and general well-being.

What have you been grateful for?

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