Spring, Sickness & Stanthorpe

It’s here. Spring arrived once again. The sun is burning the skin during the lunch break and the leggings used for the last couple of weeks are starting to feel sticky against my pale legs. I am looking forward to warmer nights spent outside with friends in a lush garden with feisty possums. I am looking forward to that first day at the beach, there are flower festivals happening and people just seem more keen for life in general. With eased restrictions here in Queensland, it means we can have our traditional events such as Oktoberfest, Halloween and Thanksgiving. 
Spring is not only sunshine, laughter, beautiful flowers and freckles. Spring is also the season of sneezes, runny noose and eyes. Not only am I feasting on antihistamine, I also managed to get a proper cold which has paused the outside world for almost a full work week. With a runny nose and stubborn cough feeling like paper cuts in an already sore throat it was time to do my first ever Covid test. With a negative result, I have happily tried to recover from this farmer’s cold which my childhood doctor always would call it. 
Before sickness and the arrival of spring, Jarryd and I drove four hours southwest to Stanthorpe for a weekend where we did hiking in the Girraween National Park. 
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Things I did during lockdown

I guess I was not the only one finding it difficult to fill the days with excitement during the Covid-19 lockdown. Spending a large amount of time in one apartment was a challenge, but this is an experience I will definitely never forget. Today I am appreciating a cup of coffee at the the cafe. Commuting by train again. Seeing colleagues and friends face to face.
I am so happy the restrictions have eased, but there will be a couple of things I will try to take with me when life goes back to the new normal. Firstly, I have had a lot of time to take care of the plants. Jarryd realised we had 50+ plants and we have for a long time needed more storage space for our green babies. We decided to go to IKEA and get the cheapest shelf which would be the new home to some of the plants without a permanent spot in the apartment. We also managed to fill the shelf with other junk we never can throw away (#girlfriendisahoarder).
It has been getting a lot cooler here in Brisbane the last couple of weeks (we are currently using a heater at home…) and this came as a shock to me and to the outdoor plants. Of course I could not let them freeze their butts off outside, so I took the most vulnerable ones inside and kept them close to our sunny window next to the ugly balcony (where we never hangout, instead it is only used for storing recycling and drying clothes). Here are some of the seedlings that absolutely love being inside. We also tried to put seeds in eggshells together with some soil. They seemed to really like it, which really is a plus since it means less plastic and more organic!
We got a fish tank from Jarryd’s mother and our first thought was to get a couple of fish. When we realised how much work and responsibility it requires, we decided it would not be worth spending that much time with a pet you cannot cuddle. Instead we turned it into a terrarium. After spending a couple of hours at Bunnings and the local plant nursery, we got everything needed for the different layers and beautiful plants. The plants are growing bigger for every day, so I need a plan for what to do when they are getting outside the wrapping paper hmm…
I guess my mind has been focused on plants lately, because that has basically been the only thing I have been painting as well. I will eventually make a post showing you the paintings I have at home and some of the stuff I am currently working on.
The only time I was outside during the lockdown was when I had to go to the grocery store or when I went for walks. I like that Brisbane has so many bridges! They all have their own personality and appearance. This is one of my favourites, William Jolly bridge in South Brisbane. 
Lastly, the lockdown has been a great opportunity to read all the books I usually find hard to prioritise when there are a million other things happening during the weeks. I am a bit of a sucker for history and could not resist purchasing this book. It is so interesting to get a detailed description of how the medieval life could have looked like: how people lived, what the society was like and how everything looked like. Please give me a time travel machine!
What interests and activities have you occupied yourself with during Covid-19? Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday!
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Bonjour

Hi cyber world. What a crazy year it has been so far and probably will continue to be. In the middle of this chaos I have managed to get a new job, purchased more plants, had the best beef Stroganoff ever (thanks Jarryd) and had a lot of time to reflect on life. 
Life is however starting to go back to the new “normal” and I am keen as a bean to hang out with friends in the park and plan trips and adventures. This means I will finally have fun things to share here on the blog again. But now it is time to put together a new IKEA shelf and water all our 50+ plants. See you later!
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On my mind

Hi everyone! Long time no see! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year’s! Etc, etc!  It’s been a relaxed time away from responsibilities and musts. But this is about to change! In just a couple of days, Jarryd and I are moving to our new apartment. We have been spending a lot of time planning the move and trying to figure out how we actually want to live. What are we bringing to the new place? What are we donating? What do we need to buy? Leaving a share house and getting our OWN home has made me think more about how I want my life to be and what I want. Let me show you what’s been occupying my mind lately!
One of the hardest things about moving from a house to an apartment is storage. We have also been quite unlucky and the only storage we have in the apartment is a small walk in closet. There’s no way we can fit everything in there, so my plan is to buy a cabinet where we can keep bed linen, pillows, towels, etc. I would definitely not mind a vintage cabinet with a lot of character and space. I found the Swedish Rocco Cabinet from the 18th-19th century  and I love it. Unfortunately, I don’t have any spare $13,000 in my bank account, so this one is a no for me. I do however hope I can find an Australian (and cheaper) version of this one.
This is how I want to dress from now on! Airy, quality vintage clothes and a large straw hat to protect my face from the aggressive Australian sunlight. Even if this outfit looks a bit too warm for summer, it would be perfect for a cool, breezy winter day somewhere in the Sunshine Coast. The photo was taken by Max von Treu for the July issue of MADAME magazine.
One of the most exciting parts about moving to the apartment is that I’ll finally be able to have my own place for painting. I’m quite shy painting and writing in the absence of others. Also, there has always been a lack of light in the house which has made it difficult to paint. I’m really excited to finally bring out my painting equipment again. I saw this menu card designed by either Vanessa Bell or Duncan Grant (photo borrowed from Tate) and that idea has been stuck with me since then. I want to paint my own menus for a dinner party! 
Speaking of dinner party, how beautiful isn’t this dinner party setting from the blog Lovely Life? I have unfortunately never had the chance to visit Gotland, but the mix of limestone, rustic wood and wild flowers is truly wonderful. You use what you have outside your doorstep, and it’s this simplicity I’m really fond of. 
Ahhh, ceramics! I wouldn’t mind having a collection like this one. A few, locally produced ceramics. Until I can afford this, I’ll continue buying second hand glass and porcelain.
My old, second hand Acne jeans are soon about to give up since I’ve been using them too much at work and in the garden. When we are doing laps to Salvos, Vinnies and Red Cross, I’ll sneakily  look for a pair like these


I’m in need of a good size cutting board. This one is from H&M, but I don’t mind getting a second hand one. 
2019 ended and 2020 began with the catastrophic fires here in Australia. Many people and animals have lost their lives, and homes and businesses have been destroyed. Fires are a natural part of Australia, but this time, nature’s powers are too great for us to handle. Australia is my second home and it breaks my heart to watch it burn. 
I’m disappointed in the Australian Government. I’m disappointed in the people shutting their eyes to climate change. I’m extremely disappointed that Australia is ranked as the sixth-worst of 57 countries looking at national climate action across greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy use and policy. Australia should be better than this and what we need are politicians who aren’t just focusing on short-term economical goals which will benefit their careers. As individuals and consumers, we have a great responsibility too. Change is irritating and inconvenient, but necessary.
2020 has had a really rough start, but let’s try making this world a better place for us and all living things. 
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Seven days photo bomb

This photo bomb from the last couple of days starts with a snack after my first shift at my new internship/job at Queensland Cricketers’ Club. I found Pearl café in the Gabba and had the sourdough with olive oil before catching my bus home to Paddington.
Magazines in the bathroom at the café. My eyes were drawn to the fantastic house. 
Walking past this beautiful barber shop on my way to the bus stop. 
Last week, Jarryd and I were spending a lot of time with our plants preparing them for summer. We gave them new soil and fertilizer. We have new vegetables, but so far, the tomato is the only survivor. My little Chinese Money plants are looking more and more tired which is really sad. My plant babies… 
Our oldest plant that started this whole plant addiction: the fig tree. It was our old housemate who left the fig tree on the veranda when she moved to Europe. It was supposed to be picked up by her friend. After many weeks, no friend showed up and I had to start giving the poor plant water. I decided to adopt the plant and that was our first plant. The smaller fig tree is originally from the bigger tree.  
We also added a Sentinel to our collection. My dream is to have a really big Sentinel to attract parrots. Now, we only have bush turkeys and bin chickens in our garden.
A quick ginger beer stop before watching the Joker at the movies. Tasty ginger beer and a fantastic movie that really touched me. After the movie, I went to a friend’s place in Kangaroo Point and played games and talked for ours. 
Halloween is lurking in the shadows and soon it is time for the annual Halloween party at our friend’s house. We will compete against teams in beer tasting competitions, beer pong, flip cup, etc, etc. A crazy fun night with other words! It was time for Jarryd, my two other team mates and I to meet up and discuss theme and outfits. We decided to have dinner at Fish Lane in South Bank. 
Buzzing Fish Lane!
With all the lights and street art. 
This night we were heading to Saccharomyces Beer Café.
At the beer café you can borrow a wide range of games and play pinball. Jarryd and I were playing four in a row while waiting for our team mates. I lost very badly… The good thing is that theme and costumes were decided and I have already managed to buy everything needed for my outfit.
I did my makeup and hair on the bedroom floor as always. Still in desperate need of a haircut ehhh.
Last Saturday started with kayaking in the Brisbane River. 
The kayaking was was a Christmas gift to Jarryd and I from Jarryd’s aunt. Unfortunately, the storm was on its way but we decided to give the kayaking a go. We managed to reach the Story Bridge when it started raining. Luckily, we got new vouchers and will be going kayaking again in two weeks for free.
Good morning, tired Brisbane.
For lunch we decided to try the Vietnamese restaurant Ngon in Paddington. Super tasty food and drinks! 
Like every other night, I have been stalking the neighbourhood possums. This mom has a little baby on her back and makes sure no other possum will bully it. Good mama! And this what I have been up to the last couple of days. Now it is time to heat up homemade lasagna and bake a chocolate cake. Happy Tuesday everyone!
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A Tuesday list about everything


© Lily Bostroem

Do you have?


Beer in the fridge:
Yes, I have non-alcoholic beer in the fridge at the moment. I really enjoy a cold beer while I am cooking and together with the dinner. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to find tasty non-alcoholic beer here in Australia. So if you have any recommendations, please let me know!
A pet:
I do not have any pets here in Brisbane, but my parents have one cat in Sweden. His name is William and he is a Cornish Rex. He is very talkative, a bit weird and loves annoying my mom. But at the same time, he is extremely fond of his family and wants to cuddle every day.
A favourite candy:
I really love Swedish candy and every month I spend way too much money on candy at IKEA. My absolute favourite candy is salty liquorice and especially the sort called Djungelvrål.
Makeup setting powder:
No, I do not own makeup setting powder, but I used to when I was younger. My skin is too dry during the winter and I sweat too much during the summer. I also think the powder can be a bit excessive at daytime. I currently only own a concealer which I use when I dress up at weekends.
Any plans for the future:
I have so many plans, but one really important is to eventually move back to Sweden together with Jarryd. 
An addiction:
I definitely have a sugar addiction and I try to eat sweets, biscuits and ice cream after meals instead at random times. I do have less cravings than before. My substitute when I get the cravings for sweets is pistachios.
Nail polish:
I only own one nail polish and I rarely wear it. I am very bad at applying it on my nails and I hate the fact that it only looks good for one day. If I ever wear nail polish, I usually go for the more natural colours or black.
A friend living in another country:
I think 80% of my friends live outside Australia. It is not a surprise that most of my friends live in Sweden, but I also have friends in New Zealand. It is hard being away from so many amazing people and I hate the feeling of not being a part of my friends’ daily lives. However, it is always a big occasion when we finally meet, and it makes it very special.

Who?


Do you hate:
Not really anyone I know personally. Maybe people who abuses power and Internet trolls. Those people do not make this world a better place.
Do you miss:
Too many…
Annoys you:
Pretentious people.
Do you cuddle:
A dog or a cat whenever I have the opportunity. Otherwise, I have my daily cuddles with Jarryd of course.
Cooks at home:
We share the cooking at home. Some days I cook and other days Jarryd cooks, but usually we cook together. It depends on our schedules and what we are cooking. We also make sure that the chef of the day does not have to do the final dishes.

When?


Do you wake up in the morning:
The days I work, I usually wake up at 6:30 and I catch the bus at 7:00. If I am not working, I sleep until 8:00-8:30.
Do you go to bed:
I am in bed around 9:30-10:00. I try to do some meditation/mindfulness exercises for a couple of minutes before falling asleep (I use the app Smiling Mind).
Is your birthday:
My birthday is on the 28th of November. It is usually cold, grey and rainy when I celebrate my birthday in Sweden. Instead, here in Brisbane it is usually too warm and sweaty.
Was the last time you went to the movies:
I think the last time I went to the movies was in April or May and that is when I saw Bohemian Rhapsody?

What?


Are you doing right now:
I am in the Brisbane Square Library writing this list. The reason why I sit here is the free WiFi and the air-conditioning. It is around 30 degrees outside which means it is too warm to be at home.
Are you doing later today:
When it has cooled down, I will catch a bus home and prepare a bit for a job interview tomorrow. I am planning to go for a run (definitely when it has cooled down), and we are eating leftovers from yesterday for dinner. There will finally be plenty of time for longer meditations and reading.
Do you fear:
Water shortage crisis (watch Explained on Netflix) and losing family and friends. 
Is your strength:
I am always trying to do my best. I am loyal and I want people to feel good. I can be a bit shy, but when you know me, I am a very warm person.
Is your weakness:
I stress, worry and whine sometimes. This is the reason I was recommended to start with mindfulness!
Do you want to do for work:
I really enjoy mixing administration with creative work such as photography, layout and texts. I like a more project-based work. Running my own business and being my own boss would be really cool.
Brings you joy right now:
Cute animals, mentally preparing for our move in January, amazing friends at work and outside work, Jarryd planning for our anniversary in November (I’m not sure if I am supposed to know about this planning hihi), hilarious Youtube videos I have missed (watch Bob Katter segues from gay marriage to crocodile attacks) and skyping with my family.
Are you wearing:
Black t-shirt with flowery velvet prints, baggy jeans and white sneakers. “Tuesday comfy” was my fashion inspiration today.
Are you going to do right now:
I am going to publish this post and thereafter do a quick stroll in the city. Then it is time to head back home and enjoy my evening in Paddington!
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Thursday – job searching, second hand skirt and dumplings

Wow! Already Monday again and I feel so behind schedule. This post was supposed to be updated last Friday, but nope, I completely forgot. While I am waiting for the pumpkin in the oven, I have some spare time to finally publish the post about last Thursday.
Yes, you guessed it! I was applying for jobs pretty much the whole day. I am planning to do some casual sales assistant work during the Christmas holidays to get some extra cash. I am also looking for an admin job on the side while I have a casual position at the university. Finding any type of job has been a long, difficult process. It finally feels like I can see the light in the end of the job searching tunnel though!
To remain sane and not climbing the walls at home, I spend a couple of hours at the local cafe called Sassafras. A cup of flat white makes everything easier!
Swapped full cream milk for oat milk, nomnomnoom!
I also tried my newly bought second hand skirt from Salvos in Red Hill. It is colourful, not too short and reasonably priced for a second hand clothing.
Then it was time for dinner and I decided to make dumplings, squid, spicy corn and sugar peas with a dipping sauce (plus a lot of chili, spring onion and coriander). Very yummy! And that folks, was last Thursday!
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Lunch date, homemade tapas, Brisbane Festival and a birthday party.

Just like every other day, last Friday started on the front porch with a cup of coffee in the sofa next to the plant collection. It is the perfect opportunity to check how the plants are doing. We currently have a bunch of new seedlings and we are trying to give them some extra care and love. I also applied for some jobs before the start of the weekend. 
Managed to take two selfies before I had to run to the bus. I was wearing a typical outfit: loose t-shirt with a long, pleated skirt and sunglasses. For me it does not matter what kind of weather it is, I will always wear my sunnies. I have noticed that my eyes have become much more sensitive to the sunlight recently and this is the only way to keep the tears away.
Ray Bans and my super frizzy hair. I had to survive without a conditioner for a couple of days which was very painful. It is also definitely time for a visit to the hairdresser ehhh.
I headed down to South Bank at lunch time because Jarryd and I had planned a lunch date together. I saw the preparations before the final day of the Brisbane Festival on my way to Jarryd’s work. The festival always end with the traditional fireworks along the riverside and a jet show. I met up with Jarryd and we decided to try an American inspired restaurant.
It is not always easy to find a $12 lunch in South Bank! 
I found this spinning wheel tucked away in a dark corner behind baby chairs. I asked the waitress if we could get a spin but she was unfortunately not as eager.
Posing with the house red wine. I have no photo of the lunch, but try to picture a plate with chicken wings and a garden salad.
Then I said goodbye to Jarryd since he had to run back to work, but I decided to explore South Bank a bit more before going home. I visited Brisbane Art Gallery and realised that the NASA exhibition “A Human Adventure” will end soon. I talked to Jarryd (who is a real space nerd) and we decided that we would make a visit on the Saturday before the Riverfire.
Friday evening and I had the house to myself and I decided to make tapas consisting of chili and garlic prawns, scallop, asparagus with a touch of lemon and baked chèvre with a hot and cold tomato salad. I also found some salami and olives in the fridge. With the tapas I drank a natural wine called  #003 Amber from Swining Bridge. I bought it at Spiros in Paddington and they recommended it to me since they know I usually buy sour, fruity beers. 
I really enjoyed this wine together with my spicy tapas. 
The Saturday started with a hunt for a 30th birthday gift. We spent 3 hours (!) looking for a drainage pot. The CBD was super busy due to the Brisbane Festival and excitement was in the air before the annual Riverfire. Of course we had to make a stop and listen to some good tunes on Queen Elizabeth St.
We finally found a birthday gift and crossed the bridge between the CBD and South Bank. It was lunchtime and our stomachs were growling for food (and something cold to drink in the heat).
Hello from  Saccharomyces Beer Cafe! 
We shared a plate with brisket bites, BBQ sauce and chips. 
When the plate and glasses were empty, it was time for the NASA exhibition “A Human Adventure”. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos from the museum or the Riverfire. After the exhibition, we spent a couple of hours in a packed pub in an even more packed South Bank. The fireworks were amazing and it was a really good end to the Brisbane Festival and our Saturday.
In a blink of an eye, it was Sunday and time for a 30th birthday party. Before heading to the party, I had to get the birthday gift ready. The gift was one of our Chinese Money plants together with a painting made by me, plant information and of course the pot we found the day before. Hopefully the pot will be the plants home when it is bigger.
At the party there was an actual birthday pig. It had been rotating over the grill for hours and was stuffed with lemongrass, garlic, onions, and much more deliciousness. It was so tasty! We stayed at the party for a couple of hours, but then it was time to go home and prepare for a new work week. And woosh, the weekend was over!
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Friday again

Today is the last Friday of September. My nose and eyes are already feeling the allergy itchiness, which means it is once again time to bring out the eye drops, nose spray and the non-drowsy antihistamine. Otherwise, nothing super exciting has happened this week. I have been doing my daily job searching, had one interview and did one day of work at the university. I know next week is going to look exactly the same.
For a while I thought the key ingredient for my negative thoughts was being home and alone for a long period of time. Now, I am starting to realise that the issue may not be the fact that I am spending a lot of time by myself and at home. Maybe, I am just feeling a lack of purpose in this world and failure of achieving self fulfillment? And would this magically be solved by getting a full-time employment? Depends on the job, of course, but probably not. The luxury of only working one day a week and having complete power of my schedule means I suddenly have a lot of free time. I understand my mood is more negatively affected by not knowing how to spend this time and not being able to set goals for myself. Who am I really?
This makes me think about what Benjamin Franklin said. “When you’ve finished changing, you’re finished’. I believe after moving to Australia and completely reconstructing my world, I never really had the chance to stop for a minute and analyse how I felt about life and myself. Now, when there is no lack of time or a job title to hide behind, I have really had the opportunity to scan myself, my emotions and my desires. But nothing is supposed to be easy, right? I am still trying to figure out who I am today and what I want to achieve. It is a long and quite difficult process, just like life itself . 
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