A Day in the Country… The Cotswolds

So I’ve been in London a whole 48 hours and I’ve already managed to escape the hustle and bustle and visit one of the most picturesque areas of the British countryside…

The town of Burford is situated amongst the Cotswolds and it is SO beautiful. The high street is full of buildings that have been standing since the 16 and 1700’s! Complete with crooked roofs and concaving walls, they have so much charm and character that you don’t see a lot anymore!

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Set amongst the rolling green hills this village is in a world of it’s own. It’s clearly a popular spot for day trips and tourists, with plenty of specialty shops selling souvenirs and local produce (jams, chutneys, cheeses etc). It’s a very peaceful spot with so much rich history… it would be a lovely place for a weekender house (if only I had a spare £2 million!!)

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The scenery from the car

 

One of many houses I would love to own...

One of many houses I would love to own…

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I highly recommend going and taking a look if you are in the area… such a cute village. There is nothing like this back home in Australia, the history that’s still so present in Britain blows me away… I love it… the sense of standing in old church or building and wondering who has been there before you and what did it look like 300 years ago.. I just love it. Looking forward to more historical findings!!

N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Dame’ Molly Contogeorge

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Molly Contogeorge is a young singer/songwriter from Sydney. She has toured with the likes of Bertie Blackman, Ash Grunwald, RUFUS & The Khanz to name a few. In 2008, at just 17 years old she made her first appearance at SXSW (South By South West music conference in Austin, Texas… a HUGE deal in the music industry) and then backed it up with another appearance in 2009.

Her latest release is an EP entitled Dames it’s her third and shes has produced it herself! Recorded with engineer Chris Vallejo (Passenger) at Linear Recording Studios, it is full of beautiful jazzy tones. This EP is really something quite different to the music I am normally sent, with each song possessing different, distinct qualities.. here’s a rundown;

Bang Bang! has a catchy beat, complete with horn section. It has a really good groove to it that makes you want to get out of your seat and boogie along! It then progresses to this cabaret-esq finale of subtle piano which finishes the track off really nicely.
Bad Boy allows a little more space for Molly’s voice to shine through. It has a bluesy keyboard behind it which again, makes your body move in time with it.
The tones in piano based track Brother just melt over the top of you and it conjures up images of sitting in a little jazz club and forgetting where you are.
Dames reiterates how different Molly’s sound is with horns making up the bulk of the instrumentation on this track.

Here’s Molly telling us a bit about herself… (via 5Why TV)

I think Molly has a bright future ahead of her, she is obviously a very hard worker and is passionate about her work. If you would like to support this awesome independent artist you can purchase Dames from https://mollycontogeorge.bandcamp.com – between now and August 10th all proceeds from EP sales will go directly to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.
Or if you’re in Sydney you can catch her live at these upcoming shows;
11th July @ The Vanguard, Newtown (With Caitlin Park “The Sleeper Tour”)
20th July @ Live ‘n’ Lounging – https://www.facebook.com/LivenLounging?fref=ts
3rd August @ The WONDER 102 Charity Fundraiser (404 Riley St, Surrey Hills)

Dames_Molly Contogeorge

N

The Unique Sound of Eleanor Dunlop

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Eleanor Dunlop is a singer from Sydney who possess one of the most unique voices I have heard in a long time. It has haunting, husky qualities that seem to be dripped in velvet. Upon listening to her, pictures of a luxurious woman from the 1930’s appeared in my head. Her voice rolls so easily over your ears that before you realise it she has transported you to another world and left you floating on a cloud.

A classically trained pianist, each song has a distinctive piano presence, which often include rolling melodies. These piano parts give Dunlop a signature to her sound and blend beautifully with her voice.

Her song Disguise was released last October and has had plenty of play across the Triple J networks, as well as currently being used in the ABC TV Series Old School. This song grabbed me instantly with that rolling piano, it just floats easily out of the airwaves and into your ears. Another feature of her music is that it’s unlike anything else currently being played on radio (from what I’ve heard) it has a more classical sound to it and it’s a little bit jazzy.

Since hearing Disguise I have discovered she was previously the lead singer of the band Cameras. They made really interesting music which undoubtedly showcases Eleanor’s unique voice. However, her solo work has the aforementioned classic qualities to it, making the tracks a bit ‘cleaner’ if you will. But I do enjoy both.. this track has a haunting piano track behind it that I love.. check it out!

I think Eleanor Dunlop has a very big future ahead of her… watch this space!

N

 

 

 

The Secret Keeper I Couldn’t Put Down…

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You know when you get your hands on a good book, and you literally can’t put it down because every second you don’t have it in your hands you’re thinking about the story and wondering what’s going to happen next? Well.. that just happened to me..

Kate Morton is fast becoming one of my favourite authors… I’ve always loved reading, especially getting absorbed into a great story that makes you forget where you are.. she is an expert at writing these types of stories. Her latest book The Secret Keeper is in my opinion her best work to date. Set in London during The Blitz in 1941 it seamlessly passes between 1941, 1961 and 2011.. you can read the blurb here

She has an incredible talent for melding a story together across multiple story lines and eras. The way they intertwine and resolve makes you as a reader wonder how on earth she came up with it, it seems so REAL that surely this whole story is based on a true one (it’s not, apart from the historical setting). I am reminded of writers like Di Morresy who is well known for her stories that jump between different periods in time.

I love stories like these, with mystery and intrigue that keep you guessing and turning those pages just a little bit faster with every passing chapter.  I quite often like to imagine the book I am reading as if it’s playing out like a movie or a mini series in my head… this book was no exception, with her detailed descriptions of the settings all I had to do was close my eyes and I was there with the characters.

I believe one of her books The Forgotten Garden is going to be made into a film, but I can so clearly picture The Secret Keeper as a 4 part mini series done by the ABC or the BBC… it would be perfect as the book is split up into 4 parts… I can even picture some of the actors I would cast.. I think this is where readers can get upset and left disappointed when their beloved books are turned into films… given that there is only usually 2 hours of screen time to fit in over 500 pages of writing, essential parts or even your favourite parts of the book are bound to be left behind. It’s understandable for the mediums are so different, one needs to explain more with less words while the other explains everything with words.

I read a lot, and every now and then you stumble across these gems that you can’t read fast enough and seem to end all too soon… this book is definitely one of them. I highly recommend it!

Read something recently you couldn’t put down? Let me know!

N

A Weekend Escape

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Last weekend I went down to Busselton, a town in the South West of Western Australia… it’s about a 2 hour drive south from Perth. One of my best friends lives down there with her husband so along with another friend we paid them a visit!

It’s amazing how only 2 nights away in the country can leave you feeling refreshed and as if you’ve had a week away! We managed a good balance of doing very little on the couch and getting out and about..

On Saturday we went to Eagle Bay Brewery for lunch. It’s a relatively new brewery in the region, with really yummy food and beers, set in a picturesque grounds. We were seated outside, which was chilly but we had the sun on us. Overlooking the grounds which include a dam and a veggie patch just off the lawns.

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This was followed by drinks on the beach at sunset..

Sunday we had breakfast at The Goose and then walked it all off along the Busselton Jetty, which is the longest jetty in the southern hemisphere, stretching 2kms out to the ocean. Unfortunately we did not see the local Great White Shark, Bruce who has been known to hang around at the end of the jetty, but it wasn’t the clearest of days so we weren’t surprised.

The very beginning of the jetty

Every time I head to the South West I feel like I’m coming home. I grew up going to Yallingup every summer holidays with my family and it sounds a bit daft but I have always felt a very special connection with the region. I try and get down there as often as I can (this was my third trip this year) and it will be my last visit for a while.. but no matter where I go in the world the South West will always be one of my favourite places on earth.

 

My Wandering Family

A few nights ago I caught up with a couple of my cousins, one of which hasn’t lived in Perth for the last 4 years, and my sister who has just moved back to Perth after 7 years away… as we were sharing a meal it occurred to us that our family is rather unique. Out of my immediate household family, my two sisters have both moved – one is living on the beach in northern New South Wales and the other was living in Melbourne… she has now come home and I am about to move to London! Then there’s my cousin Ryan who lives in Sydney with his wife, they moved over in the same month his brother was moving back to Perth from Sydney and finally my cousin Andrew lives in London with his wife, his sister has no plans to leave Perth, much to my sister’s delight… and that’s just on my dad’s side!

My mum’s side is equally spread out with cousins in QLD, London, Kalgoorlie and Canada!

But it just seems that as we have grown older, the family has this constant need to move around like nomads. Always looking for the next adventure… bigger and better things! The whole family hasn’t been together since Christmas 2011 and as everyone is getting older and starting to have families of their own, it’s getting harder and harder to have everyone together.

I never thought our family was particularly close, but when I compare mine with some of my friend’s families, it is becoming clear that we ARE actually a really close family. I speak to a member of my extended family almost every day. Unlike most of my friends I actually look forward to family gatherings! (Which generally consist of lots of wine and cheese and chats – My three favourite things!) ;-)

At least this ‘wandering’ attitude has proved beneficial for me, with two cousins living in London already it’s nice to know I will have family in my new home as well.

Do you have family members spread far and wide?

N

Wednesday Wine Night

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Over the past few years myself and two of my closest girlfriends started catching up midweek at one of our houses for wine, takeaway and lots of chats. It all started around the time Megan was getting married. Her husband works away during the week, so to help break up the week we would go over to her house and keep her company.  This soon became a weekly occurrence… since she had so much to plan and think about in the lead up to the wedding, I think it helped her a great deal to be able to confide in her girlfriends. It also helped myself and Lauren… having that weekly contact to talk, whether it be to vent, share news or to celebrate something!

Now I’d like to point out that Megan got married 4 years ago… over the years there has been periods where Wednesday Wine Night has been left by the wayside, but we found ourselves meeting up again at the beginning of this year; when Lauren was planning her wedding! This time around, Megan & I were in the bridal party so it also doubled as a good chance for us to touch base on plans for the hens party and the wedding itself.

Her wedding is done and dusted now, but we still find ourselves meeting up every Wednesday taking turns at each other’s houses. Tonight it’s my turn, and it is very bitter sweet as this will be the last Wednesday Wine Night for approximately 2 years… Reason being Megan is moving up north with her husband and I am moving to London, so tonight marks the end of our weekly catch ups! (at least with all 3 of us present).  Naturally we are all sad it has to come to an end, none more so than Lauren as she is going to be the only one left in Perth (we do have other friends but that’s besides the point). Tonight’s wine night will also include (for Lauren) a Skype lesson! –  who knows, maybe we can have a weekly video conference instead of a wine night… either way we need to get in those weekly updates and chats!!

We have all known each other since the first year of high school… where we all bonded over our annoying English teacher. Ever since those days we have been inseparable and our friendship has grown from weekly sleepovers to weekly clubbing, and now weekly wine nights. I love these girls so much, they are my rocks… if ever there are times in my life where something’s not right, they are the first people I turn to. I can honestly say, I don’t see this changing just because I am moving country. We are SO LUCKY to have the technology that we do today, that allows us instant contact with someone on the other side of the world. Between Skype, Viber and Facebook these girls are not going to be able to get rid of me that easily!!

So in honour of the last Wednesday Wine Night for the foreseeable future, I would like to dedicate this post to my two beautiful best friends who help keep me sane! I wise person once said; “All will be well, as long as there is enough wine!”

 

The 3 of us at Lauren's wedding.

The 3 of us at Lauren’s wedding.

N