Thursday, 30 June 2016

Currently... June

Currently we are in England at Andy's parent's house where we've spent the past 10 days. We are just about to head off to Gatwick airport to pick up my mom and dad and I can't wait to see them!

Reading:

A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi. This novel is about the use of Indian women as surrogates for couples from wealthier countries who can't have babies. The story follows the couple (and in particular the mother) who can't have a child, and the woman in India who is carrying their baby. It was interesting as it's not a subject matter I've ever given any thought to, or even really knew existed. Some moral issues are explored, such as the exploitation of these women from poor families through organisations that set this up. Small spoiler ahead: A good read but a bit disappointing as it had a "happier ever after ending" which I didn't think was realistic given the moral/ethical subject matter.

I'm in the middle of reading In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch. It's about a group of friends who reconnect 20 years after university. So far I'm enjoying it as a light, easy, holiday read. Also it has made me think back to the fun of my own university days which is always nice.

Watching:

The BBC news coverage of the Brexit Referendum (see also: Hating). 

Listening To:

I've got into a bad habit of only listening to the Hamish & Andy podcast. Not that there is anything wrong with that. They make me laugh and listening to them always puts me a in good mood. However there are five new episodes each week (highlights from the previous afternoon's radio show), and I don't have time to listen to much more than that.  My other podcasts are becoming neglected, and my feed of unplayed episodes slowly building up. So I've instituted a new podcast policy, where I just listen to them in order so that I can get some variety in my life! If it doesn't capture me in the first few minutes, I am free to delete the podcast from my feed and move on.

The most interesting one I've listened to recently is a Freakonomics Radio episode called "Why Does Everyone Hate Flying? And Other Questions Only a Pilot Can Answer". It's an interview with a pilot called Patrick Smith, answering random listener questions about air travel. It's made me realise how lucky we are to just be able to fly around the world whenever we want, and perhaps I shouldn't complain about it so much! Smith has a book called Cockpit Confidential which I'd be interested in reading.

Looking Forward To:

Lee and Claire's wedding in two days' time. Andy is the best man, I'm nervously looking forward to his speech.

Wearing:

Jeans, leggings, sweaters, and a jacket, even though it is supposed to be summer in England. Ah, British summers! Always a bit hit or miss.

Loving:

Having some "time off" while Andy's parents have helped out with Ella. Dave has been chief bather and has taken Ella on a walk almost daily to get her to nap and give us a break. It's also been nice to go for a run with Andy, it's been a long time since we've been able to do that together. 

1 Giant Mind - my new go-to meditation app. The founder led the meditation at Wanderlust which I attended last month, and I've been hooked ever since.

Hating:

Brexit. I can't believe that the UK has voted to leave the European Union. I've spent a lot of our holiday here watching the BBC coverage of the aftermath of the "Leave" vote, feeling utterly devastated at the result. And I'm not even British!

Needing:

My yoga practice. I've managed to get to only one class since being in England, and I've been pretty terrible at keeping up any sort of home practice. My body is feeling pretty old and creaky. 

Wanting:

Continuing from above, I'd really love this travel yoga mat from Manduka. I've mentioned it to Andy as a possible gift in the future. He just told me to send the details to his people. I think that means he's ignoring this request.

Obsessing Over:

How to make our flight back to Australia less of a nightmare. I need ideas!! Unfortunately I don't think leaving Ella in England until she is old enough to watch movies on a plane is an option. (Kidding!)

Considering:

Whether or not to get a (natural looking) spray tan tomorrow in time for the wedding. My head says no, totally unnecessary... but my heart says YES! I've only had a spray tan once before, for my own wedding, and I have to admit it did look nice!

Working On:

I've almost finished my online course Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance. I've learned a lot about the science behind meditation and mindfulness and some useful tips. One being about how unproductive multitasking is. This video called How Multitasking is Affecting the Way You Think  really made me think.

Another take away from the course for me was understanding that our brain is hardwired to focus and remember negative experiences and feelings more easily than positive ones. This because the brain has evolved to anticipate and overcome danger, so danger (ie negativity) is what it registers easily. This is called the brain's Negativity Bias. If we want to think more positively we have to actually train the brain to do this. This is where mindfulness comes in handy. One way to train the brain is to consciously "hang-out" with a positive emotion/experience - really notice what you are feeling instead of just moving on to the next thing. In this way it is more likely to transfer to our long term memory, and we will remember it more easily. If we do this enough we will start to remember more positive things happening in our lives, instead of always focusing on the negative.

Grateful For:

Grandparents, and the time we have had to spend with them over this holiday period. 

Pic of the Month:

This has already featured on the blog, but I love this shot of our family enjoying a sunny winter's day on the Yarra Trail next to our house. It is all that I love about living in Melbourne.


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