Just a small girl trying to make the most of the world that she is both perpetually terrified of, and amazed by.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Well, I have now completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2017, and it's only the second month! I can't believe I was so worried about losing my love of reading this year. This month I also read a few kindle books, but I'll talk about them in my next Free Amazon Kindle Books post. Today's post will just be about the physical books that I read this month. Hope you enjoy!



The Universe of Us, by Lang Leav.

I actually bought this book on January 29th, and read it in one sitting, but I had already drafted up my Read In January post ready for the next day, so I decided to just include it in this month's post instead. I love Lang's poetry so much. I've already read her books Love & Misadventure and Lullabies - I even bought them both brand new, that's how much I admire her! I think Lang's books are a good place to start if you're just getting into poetry, as her poems are very short and sweet.

The Granny, by Brendan O'Carroll.
After falling in love with the show Mrs. Brown's Boys, I bought all 3 seasons and the Christmas specials. I also read a biography about the creator Brendan O'Carroll, which really opened my eyes to what a great person he is. I learnt from that biography that Mrs. Brown's Boys was a trilogy of books before it was a TV show (and it was actually a radio play before it was a series of books), so I kept my eye out for the books.

Since then, I have slowly found and read all three, and discovered that they're quite different from the show. They're far more serious, the family's last name is spelt Browne, there's two more sons, and Agnes has a boyfriend (there's a lot more differences than that, but you get the picture). The Granny is the last book in the series, and definitely the saddest and most serious of them all. All the characters go through some sort of development and you end up becoming quite attached to them after reading about them growing up and dealing with life's punches. I definitely recommend these books, but if you've seen the show, I'd suggest trying to forget everything you know, because these stories are a lot different.



All The Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven.
This was a book that I bought and started reading without doing any research into it (like most books I read), other than reading the blurb, so it continued to surprised me as I read it. Even though in the back of my mind, I was thinking that it might end a certain way, I was still absolutely floored when it actually did end that way. It was such an emotional read that really tugged at my heart strings. I actually started tearing up reading Jennifer's author note about how mental health issues have always been apart of her life, as I know that feeling far too well. I think she did a great job bringing some of those issues to light with this book.

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller.
I actually lost the page I was up to whilst reading this, causing me to put it down for a week and pick up another book until I could be bothered to find my page again. I definitely think this hindered my overall outlook on this book, as I was distracted and a little confused by the time I started reading it again. Mostly, though, I just couldn't believe that something like this actually happened in our world - but it did. I'm certainly going to look into the witch hunts in Salem and learn more about it. It's such a baffling part of our history and I really want to try and wrap my head around it.



The F Word, by Jane Caro & Catherine Fox.
I picked this book up thinking it was about Gordon Ramsay, but I was even more delighted when I discovered it was about feminism. I could read a million books on feminism and not get bored. It's very interesting hearing people's stories, opinions and ideas. The F Word was mostly focused on what it's like for women in the workforce today - particularly in office and corporate related jobs - and what it's like to juggle work and motherhood (I'll give you a hint: it's not easy). Whilst these topics are not relevant to me at the moment, and probably never will be, it was still interesting to read about the ways sexism is incorporated into women's everyday lives, and things to look out for that you might not perceive as rude or sexist at first.

I honestly thought this book was going to be very one-sided, and that the authors were only going to talk about the things that they want to change in their own lives, but I was pleasantly surprised that they addressed women from all over the world, and the fact that they - the authors - are very privileged and do live comfortable lives, because self awareness is important. I think Jane and Catherine did a good job in covering a lot of different issues in not too many pages, but of course, feminism can't be summed up within a few hundred pages, which is why there are still so many people out there writing books about it.

Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler.

I love the format of this book. The story is told through a series of objects that each represent a memory and Min, the main character, is writing out all the memories behind each object in a letter to her ex-boyfriend Ed, explaining why they broke up. Ed was a horrible person and I never trusted him. I wouldn't say this book was anything amazing, but it wasn't bad. There were a lot of moments when Min rambled on, which got a little boring - and even confusing - at times, but other than that it was a quick and easy read, which I always like. I really do like the format too, I'll have to keep my eyes out for more books that are written in a similar way.

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What have you been reading this month? Anything that particularly stood out to you?

Until next time,
Indya xx

Friday, 24 February 2017

One of my favourite posts to read on other blogs are the generic getting-to-know-the-blogger post. I love getting an inside look on how people think and live in their every day lives. Since starting my own blog, I've realised that there's a lot of things about myself that don't get mentioned on this blog, but are such a big part of my life. 

I'm just waiting for the day I meet an online friend in real life and see how completely blown away they are by how small I am, because that's not the sort of thing that is obvious or advertised on my blog. To prevent something like that happening, I decided to make a list of facts about myself that everyone in my life should know. They're just little things, but they make up who I am, and will hopefully give you a glimpse at my life outside of this blog. You might even learn something that will surprise you!


 I am left-handed, as are all my cousins.

 I have lived in upwards to 50 different houses. In 2013 alone, I moved 6 times. Due to this instability in my life, my biggest goal for my future is to own my own house.

 I am five foot (and half an inch!) tall. Or should I say short?

 Throughout my life I have wanted to be a journalist, a singer, a fashion designer, a model, a photographer, an interior designer, a dermatologist, and a psychologist. Now all I want is to be happy, and financially stable. I don't care so much about my job title anymore.

 I sing each day, sometimes for hours. I particularly enjoy singing country music. It really is one of my favourite things to do, but I never sing in front of anyone except Daniel. 

 My hair has been blonde, brown, black, red, pink, purple and orange (at different times!).

 Everyone says this about themselves, but I really do have an awful memory. I cannot remember a very large portion of my life, from old memories to new ones. I'm very worried it's going to get worse as I get older, which is why I document things through photos and words. 

 I don't know how to drive or ride a bike, but neither particularly interest me.

 I collect so many things, you could say I collect collections themselves. Enamel pins, bags/purses, books, Sailor Moon things, Pokemon things, money boxes, cookie jars, cups/mugs, baking equipment, and Eiffel Tower/Paris things are my main collections. I plan to do some updated collection posts (with better photos!), as well as show you ones that you haven't seen yet, in the future.

 I went to three different primary schools, and two different high schools.

 My hair is naturally curly. Out-of-control curly. I've always hated it and don't let anyone see it that way, if I can help it.

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I honestly have no idea if any of these things are particularly interesting or not, but they're facts that most people in my life would know, so I thought you should know them as well. If there's something specific you'd like to know about me, feel free to leave a comment below.

Until next time,
Indya xx

Monday, 20 February 2017

I'm going to begin by warning you that there will be a lot of fangirl-ing in this post. I never really read blogs before I started my own, but since then I have discovered so many amazing blogs that are run by equally amazing people, and I'm honestly in awe of them all.



Blogger/blog: Kate from Scathingly-Brilliant.
Favourite post:
If you like it then you should have put a coat of paint on it.

Read if: you're looking for some creative inspiration.

Kate honestly seems like the coolest person ever, and I am completely in love with her blog - and her house. Everything she posts is so bright and colourful, I can't help but feel happy when I see something associated with her. Judging by her posts, she seems like a really sweet person who likes a lot of the same things I do (pastel colours, reading, cats, etc), but my favourite thing about her is her creativity and ability to turn anything drab into fab! The above post completely changed the way I see the world. There were so many things in my home that I've been planning on slowly getting rid of and replacing with things that are more "me", but now I've realised the power of DIY, that's all going to change! Kate's post is mostly about painting things, but it opened my eyes to the fact that I can give just about anything a makeover, and I've already got some great ideas planned!




Blogger/blog: Jemma from Dorkface.
Favourite post: Editing old blog posts.
Read if: you're in need of some helpful blogging tips.

Jemma's bright and colourful photos were what initially drew me to her blog and Instagram, but it was her helpful and positive content that made me stick around. Jemma's always has good advice on all aspects of the blogging world, and has endless ideas for how to pass the time, what to post on social media, or what DIY project to do next. She also sells her own artwork, amongst other things, on her Etsy shop.



Blogger/blog: Tara from Cattitude and Co.
Favourite post: 6 Things I'd Teach in Sex Education.
Read if: you want no-nonsense advice on life, feminism, sex and more.

The first post of Tara's that I ever read was her Sexual Milestones post and I remember thinking how badass she was for talking about things like that publicly. I love women who are unapologetically themselves and don't care what people think, and Tara is definitely one of those women. I think her post about sex education is really important because she's right: we hardly get taught anything. There's so much more to our bodies than how to make a baby, and it's dangerous to let teenagers enter that stage in their life so unprepared. I live in Australia and, from what I can tell, our sex education is a lot better than other countries, but it wasn't until I discovered Laci Green on YouTube that I realised how much is still left out, and it's just not right. Tara blogs about heaps of other things too - food, life, books, travel, etc - but it's her candid, straight-to-the-point posts about sex and feminism that I love the most.



Blogger/blog: Kaylah from The Dainty Squid.
Favourite post: Collection of Curiosities.
Read if: you want to browse through incredibly extensive and unique collections.

It was honestly nearly impossible to choose a favourite post from The Dainty Squid, as I love every single thing that Kaylah posts. She has basically the complete opposite life to me, and yet I am so intrigued by it. I find that I'm just living vicariously through her blog posts. All her posts about her abandoned building adventures, her beach findings, and her unusual collections are incredibly addicting and I don't think I'll ever get sick of them. She's also a fantastic photographer and an animal-lover, which makes her even more awesome.



Blogger/blog: Nicole from Writes Like A Girl.
Favourite post: anything under her 'goals' tag.
Read if: you want to feel motivated about life.

I hated goals before I started reading Writes Like A Girl, and now I love them. At the end of each month Nicole sets herself some small goals to achieve the next month, and reflects on how she did for that month's goals. I don't know what it is, but reading about other people's goals and plans makes me feel really motivated, which is what inspired me to set some small goals for myself this year - and they're going great so far! I also love Nicole's annual birthday bucket lists, where she sets herself some goals to achieve by her next birthday, as well as the anti-bucket list she wrote at the end of last year that listed all the things she had done in 2016.

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Some more (but not all!) of my favourite blogs that deserve a mention:

 Oh Happy Day.
 What Lauren Did Today.
 Studio DIY.
 Positively Present.
 Mooey And Friends.
 Lovely Indeed.
 A Whimsy Wonderland.
 Mermaidens.

What's the best blog post you've ever read? Or better yet, the best blog post you've ever written?

Until next time,

Indya xx

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Today was such a good shopping day and I'm so happy with all the things I got! I absolutely love Sundays. Daniel and I have a routine of sleeping in, buying ourselves some delicious rolls from Coles for breakfast (Hawaiian for Daniel, sweet chilli and capsicum for me), then scoping out Cash Converters and Savers before doing our food shopping. It's the one day that we always try to keep free so we can spend it together, and it's always the highlight of my week.



First up is three DVDs I got from Cash Converters. They were all only $1 each, and you get a 3 month warranty on them, so I don't actually mind buying DVDs from there. The first thing I saw was a huge pile of Pokemon DVDs, but I already have them all except for two - Clash of Ages and Origins - so I didn't end up spending as much as I thought I would. I also picked up an Arj Barker DVD since I love his show Joy Harvest that's on Netflix.

From JB Hi-Fi, both of the Pokemon DVDs are $15.98 each, and the Arj Barker DVD is a very steep $28.99, so I ended up saving $57.95 altogether!

I couldn't find the mini easel anywhere online, but I found some similar ones online that were really expensive, which is silly when you think about how easy it is to make one out of popsicle sticks (there are so many DIY projects for it on Pinterest). I liked this one because the picture is protected by glass. I'm not sure if I'll keep the Paris picture in and put it with my Eiffel Tower things, or if I'll put one of my own photos in it.



I only got 3 books today, but I am super happy with the ones I got! They're all on my to-read list, and In Cold Blood is from the Rory Gilmore Challenge as well. It sounds really interesting, but also quite scary, so it may be a while before I read it. The cover for The Secret Garden is beautiful and all the "stitched" parts stick out in a cool 3D effect, I really like it. I'm also quite excited about Why We Broke Up and, even though it's quite a big book, I think it'll be a fairly quick read.

I spent $8.47 on these books, and saved $47.72 altogether! I know I say this all the time, but I am so grateful for secondhand stores. If I bought as many books as I do brand new, I would need at least three more jobs to pay for them all.



Another purchase that I'm so, so happy with! One of my friends is having a Barbie themed 21st which I am super excited about as I have the perfect Barbie-pink dress and handbag to wear to it, but I didn't have any pink shoes, or any shoes that I thought would go with the dress. I planned to have a look for some today, but as I have tiny feet I didn't expect to find anything that would fit me, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw these gorgeous things! I'm especially happy because they're wedges which I find a lot easier to walk in than normal heels, and they're not too dressy so I can wear them anytime.

I only paid $5.99 for them, which is good considering they're by the brand Rubi Shoes, who lists other wedges on their site for $29.95, which means I saved a very decent amount of $23.96 on just one item!

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This next item has already made my entire year. Daniel spotted it pretty much straight away, and instantly came over to tell me, causing me to actually jog over to it, I was that excited.



It's a typewriter! I owned a typewriter before the fires (which is what I refer to Black Saturday as), and it has been the one thing I've always wanted to replace. They've become a lot more common now, especially electric ones, but I prefer the old "manual" ones.

I saw a lot of different prices for typewriters online. Pinnock have many different typewriters and I saw some going for $100-$150, but it felt unfair to compare it to those ones since they were a little different, so I kept looking and managed to find this exact one for sale on Gumtree for $50. I know it's not exactly an accurate comparison since it's just being sold by someone who doesn't want theirs anymore, but it seemed a lot more reasonable - and, since I only paid $24.99 for mine, I still saved $25.01!

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Altogether I spent $42.45, which did make me cringe a little, but I ended up saving $154.64, which is awesome. Plus, I really am so unbelievably happy that after eight years, I finally own a typewriter again. I love it so much - and it works, too! The ink is running out, but Daniel's confident that we could find a place that sells the ribbons. I don't mind either way though, as long as I can look at it I'm happy.

Until next time,
Indya xx

Friday, 17 February 2017

This year for Valentine's Day, Daniel and I visited the Healesville Sanctuary. If you've read either of my zoo posts, you'll know that we have annual passes to the Melbourne Zoo, which also allow us unlimited entry to the Werribee Open Range Zoo and the Healvesville Sanctuary. Healesville is the next closest to us, after the Melbourne Zoo, so we decided to have a little day trip there for our fourth Valentine's Day together.



I love long car rides, and always have. I grew up living in the middle of nowhere, so I was always used to having to travel to go anywhere, but now that I live a 2 minute walk from work, I don't get to be in a car very often. I love being able to just sit back and read without any distractions.





The first thing we noticed about the Healesville Sanctuary is that it's a lot more close-up and hands on than the Melbourne Zoo. The first animals we saw were the emus, and we were very surprised by how close they were.

As you'll see in the photo below, the fence separating us was shorter than they were, which made me think they could've jumped over at any moment. They were very calm and relaxed the entire time, and didn't seem fussed at all about humans being near them.




The Healesville Sanctuary also offers a lot of close-up encounters. You can pat and play with some wombats for $20, swim with the platypus for $175, or get up close and personal with dingoes, kangaroos, echidnas, koalas, emus or a python for $12 each. 

Daniel and I both wanted to pat some wombats, and I was dying to hold a python, but we didn't realise that you had to purchase those tickets at the entry gate rather than at each individual animal enclosure, so we missed out on that.



I wasn't too upset though, because while we were looking at the lizards, a zoo worker brought out a shingleback for people to pet! That was pretty cool. I definitely want to go back soon and slowly do each close-up encounter - except for swimming with the platypus, because that's expensive and we'd have to drive home wet.

It rained a little while we were there, which was slightly annoying as my camera kept getting water on the lens, but the water droplets on the trees and plants looked really cool. One of my favourite things to do after it rains is go outside and take photos of the droplets up close.




While we were walking around, we saw a tree with a sign on it that said it was over 150 years old, which completely blew me away, and began a conversation between me and Daniel on how people can tell how old a tree is without cutting it down.

A nearby zoo worker came over to us and said he couldn't help overhearing, then explained to us that you can estimate of how old a tree is by how thick it is - which certainly makes sense when you see how round these trees are! He then went on to tell us about a tree in another part of the zoo that was over 250 years old. 

You could clearly tell that he genuinely loved trees and nature in general, which was really sweet to see. I love listening to people talk about the things they love. Passion is such a wonderful thing to find in life.




There are plenty more animals at the Healesville Sanctuary than the ones I photographed, such as marsupials, heaps of different birds, and a lot of native Australian wildlife too - but, as it was Valentine's Day, I tried not to focus too much on taking photos, and instead just enjoyed spending the day with Daniel.



All in all, it was a lovely day out. Daniel and I both love animals, so it was the perfect way to spend our Valentine's Day together.

How did you spend your Valentine's Day? Was it with a partner, hanging out with friends, or just enjoying some much-needed "you" time? Let me know, I love reading comments!

Until next time,
Indya xx

Monday, 13 February 2017

If you read my goals for 2017, you'll know that this year I wanted to try some new recipes, and since I've never cooked anything by myself, basically anything counts as a "new recipe". Earlier this month I made buttercream frosting for the first time to practice piping roses onto a cake. The frosting was delicious, but the roses ended up being a bit flat. It wasn't too bad for my first try, but I hope to get better in the future.

The second recipe I tried was this one for sugar cookies (except I just used regular white sugar, and I also included 2 teaspoons of baking powder). I chose this recipe because I thought it seemed easy, as what I really wanted to focus on was decorating them, but I was very wrong. Baking cookies is so much harder than baking a cake. Dough is so annoying and messy to work with!



I usually run to Daniel for help with anything because he always seems to know what to do, but I purposely chose to make these while he wasn't home so I couldn't do that, and it honestly almost ended in tears. I couldn't figure out why the dough wasn't sticking together, and I hadn't even added all the flour yet. The recipe I was following just said to mix everything until combined, but my dough wasn't having any of that, so I had to compromise, which was terrifying seeing as I had no idea what I was doing.

I decided to add another egg to the mix to try and make the dough stick together better. I was concerned that this would alter the overall taste of the cookies, so I was pleasantly surprised when I tried one and it tasted delicious. After I added the egg, it was still only just sticking together, so I covered my bench in flour, took the dough out of the mixing bowl, and started kneading it with my hands. As a self-confessed germ-a-phobe, this was tricky for me. Flour got everywhere and the dough made its way under all my newly grown nails. It was quite uncomfortable.

I kneaded it until it stuck together and actually looked like dough, then I cut out a bunch of I's, hearts and U's with some Valentine's themed cookie cutters I got from Coles. I didn't end up using all the flour because I didn't want to risk the dough not sticking together again, and I was worried that they wouldn't turn out right, but they did, and I was so proud of myself.

Once upon a time I would hesitate to even use a toaster while I was home alone, because I don't like making noise or doing anything that could possible end in injury or damage to the house when no one else is around, and now I am baking cookies from scratch - and using the oven - all by myself. It may not seem like much to other people, but it's a huge step for me.




The icing, however, did not turn out how I planned at all. I followed this recipe, and separated it into two batches, colouring one batch red and the other pink. I wanted to do swirly hearts and dots like the recipe showed you, but it just didn't work. The icing was too thin and all the lines I did would bleed and end up three times their size within a few minutes. I was so disappointed, and nearly gave up there, but I knew I had some really cute sprinkles so I decided to ice the cookies in one colour and decorate them with sprinkles instead, and I really liked how they turned out.

Next time I think I'll try a royal icing recipe that uses meringue powder, as that may help the thickness of it, or I'll just use more icing sugar and less water. I did love working with buttercream frosting as it's so thick it doesn't go anywhere once you've piped it onto your food, but royal icing is just so quick and easy to make, and I would like to get better at working with it. Practice makes perfect!

Until next time,
Indya xx

Friday, 10 February 2017

It's very clear that I look at life as one big adventure, and I look at all the little things within life as mini adventures. Doing this has completely changed my outlook on life, for the better. Once upon a time I dreaded getting up in the morning - now I can't wait to see what the day holds. Usually when I'm planning an adventure, I am looking for something new to do or see. I love to collect memories and experiences and, as my blog description says, I have a never-ending need to Do Everything Possible.

That being said, I don't mind repeating the same type of adventures, which means Daniel and I do a lot of the same things, but at different locations (such as circuses - as I mentioned in my Loritz Circus post, we have now been to three together), and these things become like annual dates for us. 

With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought it would be a good time to list some of my favourite date ideas in case you're looking for some inspiration, whether you've got a hot date or are just spending the day with some friends! Also, being the thrift shop queen that I am, I'm always looking for the cheapest way to have the most fun, so most of the dates in this list are quite affordable, too!



1. Mini golf.

I've loved mini golf for as long as I can remember, but then again, who doesn't? I hadn't been since I was a kid before the first time Daniel and I went together, and now we've been to four different places, always playing on both the inside and outside courses if available. I want to go to more, but since we've been to all the ones nearby, we'd have to set aside an entire day so we can travel to a different course. 

Mini golf is a nice way to spend time out of the house, and some golf courses are really picturesque - such as the one above - so I always make sure to bring my camera. As long as you don't have an overly competitive partner, this is a date that I think most people would enjoy!



2. Art galleries.
This isn't really a date idea for Daniel and I because Daniel hates art, but we've been to so many together I thought it would be worth naming. Most galleries have free entry (I am yet to go to one where you have to pay) and are a lovely place to stroll around, especially if you're both into art. I want to go to as many galleries as possible, and have been to quite a few, but I always find myself going back to the National Gallery of Victoria. It's my favourite one by far.


3. Circuses.
As I said, I've mentioned this before, so I won't talk too much about it. There's a town nearby that has a circus visit pretty much every year and, since we've lived down here, it's always been a different one, so we've gone to each one. I wouldn't count this as a cheap date, but we make the sacrifice since it's only once a year, and I really do love seeing what they can do.

4. Local movie cinemas.
Whilst you're sacrificing the luxury of the huge screens at cinemas such as Hoyts and Village, I still think visiting your local cinema is worthwhile. Daniel and I discovered a place that had $6 tickets after 6pm on certain nights, and we ended up going more times in one year than I've ever been before. 

Since then, we've seen 13 movies at that particular cinema, and we've never been disappointed. I've never noticed the screen being any smaller than any other cinema, and the food is the same, only cheaper. Unfortunately, that cinema no longer has the $6 tickets available (and there's so many movies I want to see this year, too!), but their usual tickets are still a lot cheaper than the bigger cinemas.



5. See your city's highlights.
Every city has its highlights and tourist attractions, and Melbourne is certainly no different. When I moved back to Melbourne after four years away, I realised how great this city is, and instantly knew I had to see all its greatest parts for myself. The good thing about tourist attractions is that they're usually not too badly priced (the bad thing about them is they always have overly priced gift shops that suck me in), so Daniel and I crossed quite a few off the to-do list the first year we were back. 

Things like the Eureka Skydeck, Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks (pictured above), Melbourne Zoo and the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie are all fun things to do and see at least once in your life, and they're not too expensive either. There's also places like Luna Park and the Melbourne Star, but I can't vouch for them as good adventures as I haven't been to either - yet!

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What are some of your favourite date ideas? Any tips on how to make the most of special occasions without breaking a budget?

Until next time,
Indya xx

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

For once, I'm not actually sure how to start this post. This is such a big thing that happened to me, but it was so long ago, it's hard to remember exactly how it went, and how I felt at the time. I'll start with what I do know: it was February 7th, 2009. I lived in a little town called Strathewen, which felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. There was nothing there except trees, and hardly any people. 

I also remember being in a completely different mindset to my mother from the beginning. The entire time leading up to it, she wanted to stay. She kept saying not to pack up too much stuff because it'd just be more we'd have to unpack later on. I, on the other hand, being quite a negative person at the time, was expecting the worst. I always thought we'd had bad luck, and this day certainly didn't prove me wrong. 

I packed up all my photos and school things (I was a week into high school, I didn't want to lose all my new things), but I wasn't allowed to pack my trophies and ribbons because - once again - mum thought nothing was going to happen.



Eventually, something did happen. We were standing outside our house as the trees directly behind it caught on fire. We watched our house catch on fire - that was when I decided to stop looking. It was too late to leave; we were surrounded by trees, and soon they'd all be on fire. We had to stay. 

We lived right down the end of a long driveway, our landlords lived halfway down it, and at the beginning there was another house that belonged to a firefighter (I think - as I said, my memory is hazy). It was a designated safe house, and that's where my mum, her boyfriend, our dog and I stayed with a few other families.

To this day, I don't know how we are alive. We shouldn't be alive. I never really think about it that much, but forcing myself to relive the details is actually sending shivers down my spine. Everyone parked their cars on the front lawn of the safe house and huddled inside. I know we must have been there for hours, but I can only remember fragments of it all - like it being so unbelievably dark inside. 

I remember a girl, probably been 18 and 20, who was a complete stranger to me, hugging me like I was her child. Through the worst part of it, everyone had someone in their arms. When my mum told this story, she'd say that this was when everyone said goodbye to each other, but if they did, that was shielded from me. When I say "the worst part", I mean when the fire reached the house we were in, because we didn't escape the fire, we were surrounded by it.



The fire made its way around the back of the house, and at one point there was the loudest crashing sound I have ever heard. I thought the house was coming down. Someone later told me that the fire had briefly lifted part of the roof up, but I don't know if that is true as it was pitch black and I couldn't see anything. How does someone survive that, though? Who goes into a house that half burns down, and survives? I don't understand how I am here today - but the best, and most confusing part of that night, was that the fire missed the front lawn. 

The next day, when it had passed and we deemed it safe enough to leave, we all couldn't believe our eyes. For miles in every direction, there was nothing but burnt trees and nothingness - except for the front lawn. All of our cars were perfectly fine, as well as our belongings. It honestly was a miracle. Who knows how long it would have taken someone to come find us if we weren't able to leave in our own cars.

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The next day - Sunday - is very hazy to me. All I can remember is driving, but I'm not sure where we were going to. I remember seeing nothing but burnt trees, animals and even cars. I went to school the next day, mostly because there was nothing else to do. We had no house, and I wasn't going to be able to help find one, so I might as well go to school. I still had all my books and uniform. Lots of people from my school were affected by the fires, and everyone was very supportive.

I can't say that this time in my life was particularly difficult, because it wasn't. I was okay - that's already so much better than other people had it. I had saved all my photos, and that meant the world to me. Not to mention how generous everyone was. People from across the world sent things to the victims of Black Saturday. It never felt like we went without. 

My most treasured item that I was given is a signed copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. JK Rowling sent out hundreds of them to kids who lost their homes and, ultimately, their book collections. I had just lived through a huge ordeal, but was impossible to feel bad for myself because all I could think of was how lucky I was to be alive.



I never went back to see the house - or what was left of it - but my mum did, and I think that's why the whole thing affected her a lot quicker than it affected me. The last time I saw the house, it was still a house, so for all I knew, it could've still been there. I've always been perfectly fine with talking about Black Saturday and my experience, but I have come to realise over the last few years that I definitely was affected by it. I remember people being worried that I was too okay with it all, but that is not the case now. 

I don't know why it took so long to come out - although it might have to do with other issues I have helping to bring it out - but I really am petrified of fire now. I freeze up if someone uses a lighter, or even cooks on a stove. My chest goes tight, and I assume the worst is going to happen, but I'm okay and I'm sure I'll get better with even more time. Now that I'm older, I'm realising where a lot of my anxiety-related issues originated, and that's helping me to work through them on my own. Daniel's trying to teach me how to cook, and that stoves really aren't as scary as they seem. We don't even have a gas stove, it's electric, so it really shouldn't scare me so much!

I'm not ashamed of my fears, though. I lived through something that no one should have to live through. I'm really not sure if the saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" applies here, as I don't feel stronger, but I also know now that I can lose everything and build myself back up again. I can survive being possessionless. As much as I own know - which is way more than I ever owned back then - I know I could live without it, but I also appreciate it a lot more because I have lived without it. 

I've lived with nothing. We had no form of insurance before the fires, so we didn't have any money either - but the community, the world, really came through for us. It's a complete fluke that I'm still standing here, but it's thanks to everyone else that I'm where I am now. Each person that supported us, that took care of us, that had relief wash over their face when they realised we were alive, it's all thanks to them that I was able to move on so quickly and continue my life.



I still feel somewhat silly even writing this, because I know people had it so much worse, but I also think it's nice to acknowledge all the things people did for us eight years ago. Everyone who went through much worse than me are on my mind today. Every single person who put their life on the line to help others out. All the people who lost a loved one, or multiple of them, or were injured because of these fires - you are all on my mind today. Time may pass, but that doesn't make what happened any less real. Just try to remember how lucky we are to be alive.

Until next time,
Indya xx

Sunday, 5 February 2017

I'm starting to think I should just rename these posts "Sunday Book Haul", since that's what they usually turn out to be. It doesn't have quite the same ring to it, though. This week I focused on looking for books from the Rory Gilmore Challenge, as there are so many of them, and I want to be able to cross off a few from the list throughout the year, but I only ended up finding two. The rest of the books have all been on my to-read list for a while now though, so I'm still quite happy with the ones I got.



 The Nanny Diaries.
I see this book at nearly every single op shop I go into, but I didn't realise it was on the Rory Gilmore Challenge until yesterday (there's over 300 books on the list, it's hard to remember all the names of them) so I kept an eye out for it today and picked it up. It's definitely one of the easier books to read that's on the list (some of them have over 900 pages!) so I'm hoping it'll be one I finish this year.

 Water For Elephants.
This one isn't from the challenge, nor do I actually know what it's about, but it's been on my to-read list for quite a while. It has over a million ratings on Goodreads so it must be worth reading!

 The Odyssey.
Whilst this title isn't on the challenge either, another one of Homer's works is, so I thought this still might be worth a read. I don't know much about Homer's works other than the fact that they're extremely long poems, but I have many Goodreads friends that love his books, so I would like to read them someday.

 All The Light We Cannot See.
This book isn't on the challenge, but it is one that I am quite excited to read. The page count scares me, but it was only printed in 2014 so the language should be modern, and therefore make it a lot easier for me to breeze through. Plus, books about the second World War are always interesting.

 Oliver Twist.
I've read a few different versions of the Rory Gilmore Challenge. Some include Oliver Twist and others don't, but the ones that didn't were always filled with comments from Gilmore Girls fans insisting that Oliver Twist should be on it because of a conversation Rory has with Jess where one of them calls the other 'Dodger'. Once again, I don't know what Oliver Twist is about so I'm not sure if that is referencing the book (although I don't doubt that it is), but I've heard a lot about the book regardless and, after skimming over the blurb, decided it sounded pretty interesting so I picked it up.

 The Happiest Refugee.
Admittedly I don't watch a lot of Australian television at all, but I am still familiar with Anh as a comedian, and always loved that he was a bright and cheerful person. I see this book quite often at op shops, and finally decided to pick it up today. Anh has been through a lot - as all refugees have - and still came out a positive and life-loving person, and I really admire that. I also don't know a lot of about the refugees that come to Australia, or what they have to go through to get there, despite knowing a few in real life, so I'm looking forward to educating myself on the topic.

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Total spent overall: $16.47
Total saved overall: $128.44

Until next time,
Indya xx