Recipe // Crispy Fried Risotto Balls

I'm a huge fan of repurposing leftovers, so whenever we're making risotto, I always throw in a few extra cups of rice so we can make these delicious crispy fried risotto balls. This time around, we cooked our risotto with pumpkin, leek, peas and bacon but any flavour combination would work well. A nice addition, when making the risotto balls is to add a cube of your favourite cheese to the centre.
  • 2 Cups Leftover Cooked Risotto
  • 1/2 Cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 Cup Cheese (Feta or Cream Cheese)
  • 2 Tablespoons Parmesan
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  1. Roll a tablespoon of chilled risotto between the palm of your hands until combined, flatten and insert a small cube of cheese into the centre and roll into a ball.
  2. Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan in a bowl. Roll risotto balls in the breadcrumb mixture.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan, cook risotto balls for 3-4 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Serve with a light salad of lettuce, cucumber and tomato!

TOP 5 // Secrets to Blogging 101

I have been blogging for exactly...
2 years, 11 months and 21 days
and in that time I've learnt a few things. I'll also admit I still have a lot to learn and I'm mystified on a daily basis by the bloggers with millions upon millions of readers.

My Top Tips for Blogging Successfully


I find that I can sit at the computer all day and not write a single word yet the hour I'm due to log off is when I get a wave of inspiration. The key is to get as much work done in this time without slacking off on social / family responsibilities.


I personally think I'd be an amazing editor. I love reading through text while fixing up the grammar and spelling errors. Yet, I've learnt to try and switch off my editing abilities until the bulk of the writing is done otherwise I completely lose my train of thought and never end up completing the blog post.


It's where you'll find 99% of your inspiration. It's why you'll strive to be a better blogger. It's where you'll learn things, earn new readers and make new friends. Oh, and also credit the original blogger whether it be for a tiny little idea, meme or photo… otherwise things can get real nasty.


If you spend your time day in, day out writing your blog and not much else, you'll soon hit a wall and almost start to hate on your blog when all you really want is an amazing creative outlet where you can share your thoughts and feelings on a variety of topics. It can sometimes be hard to multi-task between your blog and a personal life but one without the other does not add up.


I often have a multi-tide of ideas that come tumbling at me all at once. The goal here is to prioritise and finish an entire blog post first before moving onto anything else. You'll find yourself coming back to the post tomorrow with no idea of how to wrap it up, so it becomes a complete waste of time.

Q: What techniques do you find work best when writing for your blog? What advice would you give to new bloggers?

M.I.A // Life Update // University

I'm usually the first to frown upon bloggers who write MIA posts, yet here I am today with a perfectly suitable reason for taking a short hiatus of my own.

It's only really been a couple months break but it feels like decades to me. I just miss blogging so much and will hopefully be back with renewed energy sooner rather than later.

I've been spending the majority of time researching a whole heap of career options but also applying to university. Yes, you heard it hear first because truthfully, I've been too bloody insecure to share it with anyone important in my everyday life.

I've been taking a preparation class, attending interviews, writing applications and I was also required to take the STAT as a mature-age student Can you believe at twenty-two, I fit into such a category? It's taken me a little while to adjust but now it just rolls off my tongue like yesterdays news.

Along the way, I realised I would like to become a primary school teacher. STOP THE PRESS! It's taken me an incredibly long time to come to this decision but I feel content with it now, and if it doesn't work out there is always early childhood education. 

I've been reading lots about students who just don't have a career path mapped out for the rest of the lives at age 17 and it's given me lots of inspiration to move on from my crappy high school experience. I've also got pinterest to thank, I would never have taken it as seriously if I hadn't created a pinboard about my goal to attend uni one day and eventually study abroad.

It's funny how things work out really, I've been reviewing Young Adult novels on my blog for a few years now and it's actually turned out to have helped with my application process. I'm also not as fearful of the dreaded university essay after having built my writing skills with reviews and this blog.

There have been lots of little hints along the way that a career in teaching is for me but mostly I see it as fate as I've always enjoyed spending time with kids and being in the classroom. I can also remember little moments of yearning when school friends and other bloggers have mentioned their primary degree plus I've had a couple people recommend the career to me over the years based on my personality.

How was it taken me this long to realise you ask? I have no idea. I've been drowning myself in books, music, tv and movies and I'm noticing it more lately but hopefully I get into one of the 12 courses I've applied to and will be on to bigger and better things for the future.

Wish Me Luck

Q: What did you/will you study at college/university? How did you narrow down your course options?

Book Review: Vicious Little Darlings

Title: Vicious Little Darlings
Author: Kathering Easer
Genre: YA, Mystery
Released: June 2011
My Review: Vicious Little Darlings is an extremely unique tale of jealousy. I can safely say, I've never read anything like it. There are mentions of a pet baby fawn, nude portraits and so much drama that you'll be in complete disbelief while reading this book.

Early on, I was completely taken aback. Vicious Little Darlings is almost a complete shambles and downright unrealistic but as it sits in the same vein as Pretty Little Liars, you'll find yourself holding your breath until the very last secret is revealed. It was also the perfect way to tide me over until the next season of PLL.

Basically, Sarah has recently transferred to a new school on the other side of the country far from her family. She feels isolated and alone so when an instant bond forms with the school outcasts, Maddy and Agnes, she clings to their friendship and eventually moves into their private accommodation away from the security of her fellow students and teachers.

Sarah finds their antics slightly odd but passes it up as grief and immaturity, it isn't until she finds a Hello Kitty diary full of disturbing diary entries that she starts to take things seriously and finally tries to get the hell out of there!

Yes, Vicious Little Darlings tested my limits to the nth degree but in a roundabout way, I became very invested in this novel. I only wish their had been an improvement to the first half of the novel so it could've be enjoyed by a much wider audience.

Sugar Free September // Day One

Late last night, I discovered an exciting new challenge on Twitter thanks to Maude Garrett. It's called Sugar Free September and it's all about monitoring your sugar intake for the entire month. I guess I was all pumped at nearing the completion of the ABC Reading Challenge or simply due to the fact that it was nearing midnight but somehow I signed up for the challenge without a second thought.

At first, I was a little worried that their would be very limited food options available and I'd simply end up splurging at the first sign of weakness but it turns out you can qualify for the challenge if you stick to foods with less than 5 grams of sugar per 100 gram serve. This opens up a whole world of opportunity and had me reading the back of labels on almost every product I bought when I ventured out into the supermarket today. 

There are some hardcore peeps out there who are only doing the meat, veg and fruit option but that so isn't me. It's been extremely hard to kick my morning cup of tea with low gi sugar so hopefully I can make it through the entire month without too many dollar coins in the mistake jar!

Sugar Free September is a simple concept that encourages Australians to cut all processed sugar from their diet for one month.  Do something positive for you!

All we’re asking is that for the month of September you check anything that you’re going to eat or drink, for its Sugar levels – if they are any higher than 5% (5g/100g) – you then make the decision not to eat or drink it!

Day One // Sugar Free September
Breakfast - I woke up really keen to get into the first day of the challenge, I was tossing up between eggs or oats for brekky and finally settled on Scrambled Eggs with some tomato but I could've easily used corn instead. I would usually add in some cream and have a piece of toast too but settled for just the eggs until I could do some more research on my pantries sugar levels.

Lunch - I went out with friends in the afternoon and made the mistake of not telling them about my new challenge so I ended up succumbing to take-away food which is probably the worst choice ever! I ended up with three mini-potato cakes, a hot dog in batter and some chips. Urgh, first day in and I already owe a dollar to the jar :S

Snack - I was seriously craving a cup of tea with some sugar at this point, I usually would've had about 2-3 by this point each with a teaspoon of Lo-Gi sugar but instead I had some Banana ice-cream that I made a couple days ago with my brand new Yonanas Machine.

Dinner - I had some leftover Corned Beef Pie in the fridge which luckily fit into the challenge, I think. I also caved and had that cup of tea I so desperately missed.

Daily Sugar-Free Jar Count: $4 Owing

Q: What foods would you find most difficult to avoid during Sugar Free September?

Yonanas // Product Review & Aussie Giveaway

Yonanas Product Review
I first spotted the Yonanas Ice-Cream Maker when it was featured on one of my favourite blogs so I'm thrilled to be able to review it for my readers today!

In the past, I've experimented with lots of different frozen dessert recipes, most recently I froze vanilla yoghurt in little tubs with berries and some honey for a healthy snack. I even blogged about my DIY Smoothie Cubes a little while back so I'm hoping the Yonana can become a staple in my household when it comes to creating healthy and delicious treats!

Personally, I made the decision to STOP buying kitchen appliances as we've racked up quite a few in the past couple years (convection oven, air fryer, food processor) so when I spotted the Yonanas machine in my local Harris Scarfe store for the first time, I was a little disappointed that I couldn't break my promise and test out this brand new product. Luckily, Yonanas were able to supply me with a machine for review today and I couldn't be more pleased.

At first, I was a little skeptical as to whether the taste would compare to store bought ice-cream and whether the recommended retail price would be worthwhile but I was easily won over.

In anticipation of the Yonanas turning up on my doorstep, I made sure to prep a few bananas and put them in the freezer so I was all ready to go when I finally unpacked the machine. I started off by placing two frozen bananas in the chute with some leftover chocolate pieces. It got a bit noisy at this point and I was required to press a little forcefully to get the frozen banana through the grinder. In hindsight, I now see I should've left the bananas out to defrost for a little bit and also chopped them up into smaller pieces but other than that I had no real issues and was pleased with what the machine produced.

The ice-cream like texture and taste was delicious and I was keen to test the machine out further, so I went on to create a Banana/Berry combo and put those into the provided icy pole freezing containers, as seen in the below photo.

I love ice-cream and all sorts of after dinner treats but I try to avoid them for the calories and mostly the guilt but with the Yonanas you can have the fun of creating your own flavour combinations and then get to have a healthy and delicious treat whenever you want!

I'm chuffed!  I've been eating yummy treats for days now. It's even fun to make and experiment with new flavours. And it's all HEALTHY because you're only adding fruit and no preservatives or sugar. It's even easy to clean and doesn't take up too much room in our kitchen because it's such a compact device.

Overall, I really enjoyed using the Yonanas machine. It's taste and health benefits have fit in with my lifestyle really well and I hope to use it on a regular basis especially in the upcoming summer months.

  • Healthy - A great snack for the summer as you're only eating frozen fruit without any sugar/cream/preservatives.
  • Taste - I'm really surprised to say the Yonanas sits on par with store bought ice-creams. I don't miss the sugary flavours at all.
  • Easy to Clean - Just take apart the grinder section and rinse or pop in the dishwasher.
  • Allergies - I can imagine this being a life-saver for those with allergies, you know exactly what you're putting into your ice-cream!
  • Fun - I love trying out new recipes and especially enjoy testing out desserts so this is just more of a chance for me to have fun in the kitchen


  • Quantity -  I used two bananas and half a cup of berries which resulted in about two small servings. It was perfect for me but I imagine it would be chaos for those with small children or a large family!
  • Ease of Use - You need a bit of strength to push the frozen fruit into the chute and through the grinder. It's also a rather noisy device.
  • Pre-freezing - I wouldn't recommend this machine to those of us who are a little impatient. The bananas must be frozen solid for up to 24 hours before using the Yonanas machine. I now have a system where I add bananas to my freezer every time I use the machine otherwise it becomes a waiting game.
  • Price - As I said earlier, I was originally put off by the price but if I could go back in time, I would definitely buy one for myself earlier as it looks like it's becoming a regularly used household appliance.
  • Food Processors - After reading a few other reviews, it seems a similar result can be obtained through a food processor. I will definitely test this out myself one day.
Product Info

What Is It?
Yonanas is a new, easy to use ice-cream maker that takes frozen bananas and other ingredients and turns them into a low cost, healthy soft serve ice cream.

How It Works:
Simply freezer chunks of banana overnight then allow to thaw for a few minutes before placing in the Yonanas machine. Repeat the process with your choice of frozen fruits, nuts or chocolate and you'll have delicious homemade ice-cream ready to eat!

Where To Buy:
The Yonanas Ice-Cream Maker retails for roughly $89.95 in Australian stores. It can be purchased online at the Yonanas store or through these major retailers: Target, Myer, Harvey Norman, Harris Scarfe & Matchbox.


Aussie Giveaway
The Yonanas team were kind enough to donate one ice-cream maker to a lucky participant who follows their Facebook or Twitter profile below. Entry is open to Australian residents only!

Q: What ice-cream flavour combinations would you make with the Yonanas machine? I'm thinking about trying Banana/Pineapple next up!

TGIF // Choose Your Next Read

TGIF is a weekly feature organised by Ginger at Greads. This week's topic is "Choose Your Next Read: How do you go about choosing what you read next? Do you have a schedule you follow, or do you read whatever makes you happy at the moment?"
Does anyone else ever feel like the girl in the picture above? Books are hugely entertaining and are the perfect comfort on the less exciting days but it doesn't take much to become overwhelmed with a huge reading pile and the guilt that follows. 

In the past, I've tried picking roughly ten books at the start of each month and working my way through them but I always seem to come back to the same conclusion, pre-planned choices always end up in boredom/slumps and so I've completely written them off and now plan my reading choices based on a whim.

For now that means ignoring my tendency for list-making and basically picking my next book when the time comes, this will sometimes include a quick peek at the goodreads ratings but mostly based on what looks like it'll be a super entertaining read and it seems to be working wonders as I'm finally getting around to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower!

It now seems completely clear that I'll never be able to predict which books will be a winner or fail but I  have learnt that things like reading a sappy romance after an awesome dystopian is never a good idea as you're destined to be bored.

Q: How do you decide which book to read next?

Top Five Films on my Watchlist

On My Watchlist is all about sharing your favourite upcoming films in a quick
blog post. If you'd like to participate, simply share your link below :)
On My Watchlist
1. This Is 40 
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann
Genre: Comedy
Released: Feb 2013

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton
Genre: Drama
Released: Nov 2012

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher
Genre: Comedy
Released: Sep 2012

Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson
Genre: Drama
Released: Sep 2012

Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams
Genre: Fantasy
Released: March 2013

Why I Want To See These Films...
  1. This Is 40 - A whole heap of my favourite people all in one movie, this looks like another awesome comedy from Judd Apatow. I can't wait til it's released early next year!
  2. The Odd Life of Timothy Green - I only just got onboard with this film when Jennifer Garner popped up on The Ellen Degeneres Show a few days ago, it looks like it could be a winner although I have seen a rather similar film by the name of Foster. Toni Collette was in the starring role and it just didn't turn out that great so here's hoping for the best, Timothy Green!
  3. Bachelorette - I heart Rebel Wilson! It's amazing to see one of my favourite Aussie comedians making it in Hollywood. First, Bridesmaid and now Bachelorette. I hope I don't see a trend forming here but let's hope for the best.
  4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - After years of wanting to read Perks, I've finally made the plunge only to find myself struggling to complete it. Luckily, the movie looks like it might win me over a little more and hopefully help me finish this highly acclaimed book.
  5. Oz: The Great and Powerful - I'm not usually a fan of James Franco but I think my love for Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz are totally winning out. Oz looks like it'll be an amazing movie but does anyone else feel like Johnny Depp was made for the role?

Q: What movies are sitting at the top of your must-see list?
Q: Are you hoping to see any of the above mentioned films?

What's on my to-do list?

Earlier this year, a few book bloggers participated in Bloggiesta and I'm only just now getting around
 to working on my stuff. Well, truthfully I work through my to-do list every single day but here's a 
little peek into my overall list of stuff to get done...

Task Management Software: Wunderlist
Number of Items on List: Approx. 58

  1. Fave Blogs Sidebar // I've been meaning to incorporate a list of my favourite bloggers on my sidebar for a little while now but it's just the point of sitting down and picking out a few blogs I want to feature.
  2. Research P&O Cruises // We went on a cruise to Noumea in March 2011 and now we have to decide whether we want to go again in October 2012 or 2013 as two different sets of family members are planning to go and have asked us to go along, it's just a matter of choosing the best fit!
  3. Contact Quickflix // I haven't had any DVDs sent out to me since the 25th of July and I'm starting to wonder whats going on... Actually, I might go call them now!
  4. Complete the ABC Reading Challenge // I have about six books to read before I finish this challenge, it's just about the easiest one around and yet I can't manage to wrap it up. See my progress here.
  5. Watch Twilight // I've had Breaking Dawn - Part 1 on my coffee table for months now and I just can't seem to get around to watching it!
  6. Edit Old Book Reviews & Post Them on Goodreads, Amazon, etc // Really, when I look back at my early book reviews, I'm super embarrassed at the quality but the good thing is I've improved since then so my goal here is to fix those old reviews and share them around a bit!
  7. Buy a New Pair of Converse // My favourite pair of Converse are just about falling apart and Kristen Stewart / Aria from Pretty Little Liars are inspiring me to buy a pair of plain black lo-cut Chuck Taylors.
  8. List a Few Things on eBay // I have a box of stuff sitting in the corner of my room that all need to be sold on eBay or eventually donated, hopefully I can get through them all ASAP!
  9. Print Some Photos // It's so cheap right now to get photos printed at Big W or Kmart, I just need to get together a collection of photos that are worthy of printing. I've been saving them up on my computer for years and just haven't had the time to go through them yet.
  10. Clean Out Those Lists // I have piles and piles of lists building up on various websites, they are as follows: My Safari Reading List, Twitter Favourites, Email Inbox, Goodreads Wish List, Spotify Playlist & Youtube Watch List. Wish Me Luck!
Q: What's on your to-do list? 
Q: How do you keep motivated and get everything completed on time?

Max Bemis Song Shop & Me

Is anyone else a fan of Say Anything? I've been with this band for a couple years now, I think I caught on the bandwagon a little while after ...Is a Real Boy was released and it's safe to say, there hasn't been a band that has affected me more.

I just got back from seeing them live for a second time (13th July @ Billboards, Melbourne) which totally reignited my love and then the Song Shop magically appears open. In the past, I've thought about buying my very own personalised song for a fee of $75 but there are just a couple of tingly issues that are setting me back.

Mainly, the fact that I need to give a description of myself or what I'd like the song to be about. Who could put into words what they'd like to hear in a song that's going to be played on repeat for years on. Then there is the issue with the bonus phone call from Max, who could seriously talk to their favourite artist on the phone without becoming totally embarrassed and wasting the experience altogether.

There are only 313 places left and the following quote is making me really wanna do this:
"I found Song Shop unintentionally on the SA website. I signed up to be emailed when songs were available to be purchased and a few weeks later, I got a message that the shop was open. My fingers were shaking; I couldn't click that mouse or type my information in fast enough. By the time my song was purchased and I was directed to send an email explaining what I wanted my song to be about, I was on some weird adrenaline high and decided to just wing it. So, I wrote a super inarticulate email blabbering about my overabundance of insecurities and total lack of direction. I sent the email on its way with no concept of what the process of Song Shop would mean to me... My only concern was if Max would be able to extract anything of value from my rambling email that really wasn't about anything except how much my life sucked.

…Finally, I got the email with my song. It was the most surreal thing I've experienced to date. I listened to the song. I listened to the song again. I teared up a little. Then I listened to it ten more times. I kept trying to comprehend that this time the song really WAS just for me, from Max. Also, because I'm the luckiest girl in the world, there was the added bonus of talking to Max on the phone as part of that cycle of Song Shop.... Max Bemis is the totally gracious, funny, unassuming guy that I always imagined him to be.

And of course, because Max has this miraculous ability to understand so deeply and to communicate ideas, my song was beyond perfect. I've shared my song with a few close friends and they've all had the same reaction: it's amazing that someone who doesn't know me was able to write a song that is so clearly for me. Every time I listen to my song, I remind myself again that it's mine alone and that it's from Max Bemis, someone I respect and adore so much. I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to know Max a little more and know myself a lot more through Song Shop. It was the best purchase I've ever made (and probably ever will make)."

And here's a song sample from a girl named Nadine:

Q: Which artist would you like to see write a personalized song for you? And what should I have my song written about?

Last Day of Freedom Giveaway

Co-hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
& The Elliott Review
a Rafflecopter giveaway
A few of the books you could win...
Every DayBurn for BurnBeta (Beta, #1)The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)
What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)Eve and AdamShades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)

ABC Reading Challenge

I am absolutely terrible at challenges, I can barely recall ever actually completing a reading challenge so I decided to completely avoid them this year. That was, until I discovered the ABC Reading Challenge... not only did the pretty graphics pull me in but the idea that I'll be able to complete the challenge with books I already have on my reading pile. If you're also wanting to participate, check out Gripped Into Books!
28th Dec 2011 - 1st Jan 2013
A = Amazing Grace by Megan Shull
B = Bossypants by Tina Fey
D = Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham
E = Everything Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson
F = The Future of Us by Jay Asher
G = Good Oil by Laura Buzo
H = Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo
I = The Ivy by Lauren Kunze
J = Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
K = The Karma Club by Jessica Brody
L = Love-Shy by Lili Wilkinson
N = Never Have I Ever (The Lying Game #2) by Sara Shepard
O = Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
P = Preloved by Shirley Marr
Q = Queen of Secrets by Jenny Meyerhoff
R = Revived by Cat Patrick
S = Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
T = Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
U = The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
V = Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer
W = Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
Y = Young, Loaded & Fabulous by Kate Kingsley
Z = Zelah Green by Vanessa Curtis

Wish Me Luck!

Book Review: Preloved by Shirley Marr

Title: Preloved
Author: Shirley Marr
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Source: Aussie Swap (Nomes)
Released: April 2012
Save the Book: Goodreads, AbeBooks
Review: If you were ever a fan of Ghost Whisperer or Gilmore Girls, you're going to be very fond of Preloved. It's a mash-up of 80's pop culture and Chinese superstition all rolled into one!

Poor Amy is a little bored with her high school routine. She simply cannot see how amazing her life is right now. Her days are filled with helping out at her mothers antique store while also suffering through the old wives tales she offers up as advice to almost any willing ear. Then there are the longing stares from Michael, the utmost perfect boyfriend waiting in the wings for Amy yet she still feels utterly lonely and totally oblivious.

That is, until Amy finds a locket on her way to school one day and as a result is stalked by a ghost named Logan. Logan becomes her love interest from afar and keeps her company when the days are a bore. Yet Logan has his own agenda for tagging along, he adores Amy's BFF, Rebecca as she is almost identical in looks to his 80's high school sweetheart.

It's obvious Shirley Marr adores the 80s era and at some point in her life has held or hopes to host an 80s themed dress-up party. Personally, I never experienced this time period but can totally relate to reminiscing about the years of your youth.

Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed by the major turning point in the novel, I felt I had been waiting and wishing for a great outcome for the most-part of the novel and for it all to come down to pure imagination and mental illness was not as fulfilling as I'd hoped. I would've liked to see the mystery evolve possibly with the assistance of Michael as he was an excellent character I feel we didn't see enough of.

In one word, I would describe Preloved as simply adorkable. I loved Amy's pop culture references and the many mentions of old wives tales, some I had never heard of before but loved trying to figure out the meaning behind them all. Overall, it was a light and enjoyable Aussie YA novel for those of us who have always questioned the possibility of reincarnation.

Music I Grew Up On // #90s

The first CD I ever remember buying belongs to Wheatus. Does anyone recall their huge hit Teenage Dirtbag? I was mid-way through primary school and had only just started to show an interest in music. I'm proud to say I've been a rock fan since way back... yeah!

It actually caused some controversy and embarrassment when my family realised their sweet little girl wasn't into bubblegum popstars but a quite aggresive pop-rock band. I think I still have this CD lying around somewhere...
Hanson //  Aw, sweet little Hanson! The first music artist I ever remember really being a fan of. I still have a warm place in my heart for these boys and their MmmBop tunes. They were definitely a One Direction for my generation with irresistible hooks and even more irresistible hairstyles. At the time, pretty much everyone my age seemed to either be a Spice Girls or Hanson fan and I was always the latter but somehow a Spice Girls tribute band were the first act I ever saw live on stage. With all boy-bands, it's a must to have a favourite member and Taylor was the obvious fan favourite but I went slightly left of center with an instant attraction to the youngest of the three, Zac who is actually married with kids now which totally messes with my head... 
Backstreet Boys // Again, I had a favourite member in Nick but this time he was the most loved of the "band". I remember being jealous of the grade six class at my school for getting to perform their hit Backstreet's Back at the end of year school concert. Again, at the time, their was a competing act in Nsync which I never seemed to take too seriously but who could forget Justin Timberlake with curly hair!!!
Avril Lavigne // I guess now that I look at it, Avril was the first step into the pop-punk/emo genre that I loved in my teenage years. I was just starting high school at the time and realising that my classmates were all into Rap and R&B when that was totally not my thing at all. I was just starting to take my interest in music seriously and being more confident with my choices. I actually managed to see Avril live at an instore performance through a local shopping centre. Sadly, she wasn't too peachy after meeting and greeting 400+ fans and that was when the sheen started to wear off for me.
Good Charlotte // Can you see the progression yet? I was learning, right :) While, I can now see Good Charlotte were the stereotypical mainstream punk rock choice, I have a lot to thank them for. At the time, they were often compared to Simple Plan which lead me to a whole world of discovery in music and beyond.

Simple Plan // Oh, SP ♥. I loved this band for such a long time and with the most passion which was helped along by a very strong Aussie following and many fan forums. I actually met some pretty cool people at the time and still call them friends today. This band even managed to tempt me along to my first real concert experience to which I owe many years of attending concerts and local shows. I owe quite a lot to this band for being fun and accessible and never taking themselves too seriously. Without this band, I would never have been lead on to the entire network of emo bands who pretty much shaped my teenage years. Je t'aime Simple Plan :)
From here onwards, I discovered brands like Dashboard Confessional, Brand New, Elliott Smith, Say Anything, Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard, The Ataris, Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Jimmy Eat World, Tegan & Sara, Blink-182, Jack's Mannequin, Green Day, Saosin, Saves the Day, Motion City Soundtrack and so many more...

I really have no idea how I would've survived my teenager years without this collection of music. Those years were almost like being in a music appreciation class night and day. I've now come out the other end of those years with a strong music knowledge and what I'd like to think is a good taste in music yet I'm not afraid to admit I often find myself reminiscing my days of being a boy-band fan whenever What Makes You Beautiful pops up on the radio.

Q: Did you like any of these groups when you were growing up? What music did you first discover as a teenager?

Best Aussie Flicks & The Sapphires

Last night, I saw The Sapphires, an Aussie film about four Aboriginal girls who are discovered by a talent scout and taken on tour through the war in Vietnam. I'm usually pretty critical of Australian films but The Sapphires is just so entertaining and actually leaves you feeling rather uplifted and wanting more. It's pretty obvious Jess Mauboy is on her way to becoming an instant star as she shines in this 2012 film.

I hear The Sapphires already has worldwide distribution in the works so if hits a cinema near you, be sure to check it out! It also got me thinking about my favourite Aussie films...

Best Australian Films

Muriel's Wedding (1994) - A classic Aussie film, I don't think anyone can quote "You're terrible, Muriel!" without a grin on their face!

Looking for Alibrandi (2000) - | I still haven't read this book in it's entirety but I remember being extremely affected by the funeral scene in the film when I was at a young age.

Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010) - Another one for the bookish fans, I can't wait for the sequel in 2013!

Babe (1995) - Pretty much the cutest film ever, I can't believe I was only five years old when this came out.

The Castle (1997) - And, of course... the best Australian film of all time! It feels like watching a doco on the long lost cousins you never really see enough of.

Oh, and here's a trailer for The Sapphires...

Q: How many of these Aussie fan favourites have you seen? What are your favourite Australian films?

2012 Aussie BFF Romance Novel

Everything Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson
Review: There isn't much you need to know about this book before I recommend you go out and buy a copy. Everything Left Unsaid is such an addictive and refreshingly realistic novel that I feel it could be enjoyed by almost anyone.

Tai and Juliet have been best friends since kindy but only just discover a romantic fondness for each-other in their final year of school when graduation and uni are on the cards and a semi-adult life is about to begin. All of this comes to a sudden halt when Tai finally goes for a check-up on a reoccurring headache that has been bothering him for quite some time. It turns out Tai has a brain tumour and with a couple rounds of chemotherapy and a surgery, he may be able to live for a few more months.

I'm not usually one to be drawn to such a morbid sounding novel but I just couldn't resist the idea of this Aussie YA novel. I'm really glad I got a chance to read this book as it's such a quick and easy read with a roller-coaster of emotions and a few teary moments thrown in near the end. I even found myself bringing Everything Left Unsaid along on each and every outing in the hopes of getting stuck in a queue at some point during the day and having even more time to spend reading this book.

I especially loved how Jessica Davidson included lots of little Australianisms which made it an even more enjoyable novel for me. I'm sure it'd work just as well worldwide with such an addictive story-line.

Hosting An Exchange Student?

Have you ever hosted an exchange student or gone on exchange to another country? I've always loved the idea of going on exchange but for one reason or another, I just never went through with it. Whether that was due to a lack of confidence or purely because I didn't have the right contacts, I'll never know. I do know that at the age of twenty-two, I've finally come to the realisation that I'll never cross this item off my bucket list and instead tonight have found myself filling out an application to become a host family. 

Crazy, I know... I haven't even mentioned it to the other members of my household. It's actually rather daunting when you think about sharing your home 24/7 with a complete stranger and to make things worse, we're usually pretty quiet people so at this point we've opted for a teenage girl but have left the country of residence as open-ended. Hopefully, it'll be like having a temporary little sister, right? 

A friend of mine hosted a student on exchange a few years back and the poor girl was so shy that she spent the entire time in her bedroom and barely spoke a word to her host parents/siblings. For right now, we have to focus on acing an interview with the programme advisor then we'll be all set to host our first foreign exchange student! I'll keep you updated with my adventures as a host family. Wish me good luck :)

Q: Would you ever host an exchange student in your home?

Weekend Update // Web Design & Mummy Blogs

For quite some time now, I've wanted to commission a blog layout for Good Golly Miss Holly but for one reason or another, I just haven't got around to it. The instant I found Katelyn Brooke Designs, I knew I had to book in my blog for a makeover. Take a look at the early inspiration board below, doesn't it look divine! I can't wait to see the finished product in early August.
I'm hoping the new look will inspire me to write a hell of a lot more creatively and even come up with a few new brilly blog topics. It seems like I've been in a rut lately with both reading and blogging which I just can't seem to kick. It may have something to do with trying to fit in at a new workplace but luckily I'll have plenty of time to schedule for blogging down the track.

Is anyone else a little overwhelmed by the mummy blogger craze currently riding the wave in Australia? I've heard it happened a few years ago in the US and is only just making it's way down here. It's left me wondering where I fit into this crazy world of blogging especially since I'm lacking in the title of mother and/or wife. I guess it doesn't help that I've decided to slightly remove focus from my extremely reliable book habit so excuse the mess while I try to figure out where I belong in the blogosphere.

P.S. I know I'm always raving about my favourite new website (first it was weheartit, then pinterest and finally bloglovin) but I have only just discovered an extremely entertaining website for those of us who enjoy a good session of online shopping. Wanelo is like walking into a store full of quirky products you never knew you needed until now and I've already built up a list of stuff I need to buy ASAP!

Q: What are your thoughts on the new blog design and/or mummy bloggers?
Disclaimer: I mean no respect to mothers or wives who blog, I simply use the term to easily describe the current trend in blogging.

In My Mailbox #88

After a few weeks wait, my copy of Insurgent finally arrived yet for some reason, I haven't been too keen on reading it. Instead, I was all of sudden interested in Why We Broke Up & Second Chance Summer which both ended up being awesome in their own right. You'll see my splurge on Sarah Ockler books below, this is all due to the wonderful TBD and their discounts. I wasn't even that much of a fan of Twenty Boy Summer but these two look so good that I couldn't choose between them so I ended up with both. Be sure to let me know what you got into your mailbox this week ♥
The Friendship Matchmaker by Randa Abdel-Fattah
 Dead Time by Anne Cassidy

Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy #2) by Veronica Roth
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Q: Which of these books would you read first?

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