Slipping Back Into Blogging

2014 has been kicking my butt.

Mr Pilot has been doing FIFO work overseas this year, and it turns out that all those things that we do in our family are a lot harder when you’re doing them on your own. And when he’s home we do tonnes of family stuff, so I have less time to do things like blogging (and exercising). When I have had blogging time and motivation, I tend to write book reviews or write over at the sewing blog.

But I miss writing. And I have stuff I want to say and don’t feel like I have places to say it. So it’s obviously time to start blogging a bit more. I doubt I’ll be a prolific blogger any time soon, but it’s nice to maintain some space that’s mine and to keep my writing ‘eye’ in. And hopefully there’s still a reader or two around πŸ™‚

Boys at the Park 23

Creating New Blogs Is Kind Of Addictive . . .

. . . Well, not really, but I have been making a new blog.

You see, I really wanted to blog a bit more about things that make my geek heart sing. Like television shows which I love and books which make my heart sing. I want to talk politics and educational theory and rant about why reading for pleasure is so important – with occasional statistics.Β (Which funnily enough, is how I started blogging, back when I had a Diary Land account . . . )

None of this really fits in with what I have here. Here is best for parenting and books for kids and activities for Squirm and Squirm himself. It’s difficult to blog about a Jackie French book one post and the definitely written for adults comic series Saga, the next. (By the way, Saga is wonderful and I highly recommend it!)

So I’ve created a new blog – Subversive Reader Geeks Out. It still links to my Facebook page, if you want regular updates, or you could just drop by every now and then to see what’s geeking me out today πŸ™‚

Some things I might write about . . .

Some things I might write about . . .

Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2013: Organisation and Progress – Part One

Adventures of a Subversive Reader

Close to the end of last year, I signed up for the 2013 Australian Women Writer’s Challenge. Now that 2013 is actually here,Β  I need to start working out how I’m going to organise the challenge on the blog.

What am I Doing in the Challenge

  • I’m actually, kinda, doing two challenges – finding Australian Women Writers to read and review for Squirm, and Australian Women Writers to read and review myself.
  • My challenge level is the Franklin level, which is to read 10 books and review at least 6.
  • I’m trying to challenge myself to read in a range of genres. I’ve read three so far: one contemporary fiction and two speculative fiction, which I don’t usually read!

How am I Going to Post About the Challenge

  • You can keep track of my books at Goodreads – My books and Squirm’s Books
  • I’ll post reviews for my books in separate posts (for linking reasons) on Saturdays only.
  • Each week I’ll write an update post, also published on Saturday
  • Squirm’s books will be part of Squirm’s book reviews which are a collection of reviews posted on Wednesdays
  • There’ll be a master page, up under the reading tab (look at the top of the page πŸ™‚ )

Are you doing the AWW 2013 challenge? Have you got any Australian women writers to recommend to me? Have you read any awesome books this year?

The 100th Post (And Altered Cupcakes)

It’s my 100th post! Bring on the celebratory streamers, party poppers and lashings of ginger beer.

Or my Altered Cupcake ‘Recipe’

How to alter a vanilla cupcake recipe to make different cupcakes.

The first thing you need to do is find an awesome vanilla cupcake recipe. I thoroughly recommend this one from Glorious Treats – there are amazing recipes over there to check out! Then you need to decide what kind of cupcakes you want to make. I decided to split a recipe in half, and make half Chai and vanilla and half orange with chocolate icing. I don’t recommend this, unless you’ve got a way to accurately split mixed items – it’s much easier to make a full batch and not wonder about what you’ve done when . . .

Chai and Vanilla Cupcakes

Before I started cooking, I heated up the buttermilk (using a little more than in the recipe). This is a bit of a smelly task, so be prepared! In a normal coffee mug, I put a couple of chai tea bags and poured the warm milk over it. I left this while I prepared the other ingredients.

Just before I started adding the dry mixture and the buttermilk, I took the T-bags out and stirred the chai flavoured buttermilk. I think the best thing to do here would be to heat up and prepare more than you need, then measure out the right amount of milk for the recipe.

I used the new cream cheese frosting you can buy at the shops now, and topped it with cinnamon sugar and sliced, crystalised ginger. My husband suggested that I use less ginger next time, as it was a bit over powering.

Orange Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

This was so easy to alter! Instead of adding vanilla, I added orange flavour, two drops of yellow colouring and a drop of red. I probably could increase the colouring and the flavour a bit. Β I iced this with chocolate cream cheese frosting pipped through a bag – next time I think I’d run it through the food processor a bit to make it fluffier – then decorated with those icing tubes and a jaffa (the outing comes off the jaffa in the fridge though).

You could probably have even more fun with this recipe by adding mini choc-chips through the batter, or swirl some melted chocolate or chocolate cake batter through the orange batter – mmm, new ideas to try.

The final thing to think about is this – once you’ve got a good base recipe, there’s an awful lot you can do to alter it. There’s all sorts of flavours available to experiment with – I got inspiration from the chocolate and lolly aisle! Just make sure you share your yummy cupcake alterations!

A weekend off is as good as a holiday

So, over the weekend I barely looked at the blog. I looked at a couple of comments, and wrote down a few ideas for posts and just stayed away. Instead of obsessing over what I must post right now, I:

  • Visited family
  • Read a book
  • Went for a walk with Squirm
  • Went to church
  • Read to Squirm
  • Played with Squirm
  • Sat on the front lawn, watching the beautiful blue sky with Squirm while waiting for Mr Pilot to come home from his flying lesson.

And I finished the weekend more relaxed and happy than I have been in a couple of weeks.

The problem is, whenever I start blogging I want it all immediately. I spend ages obsessing over how other people do it, hours throwing myself into social media, endless energy worrying about whether I’m doing things ‘right’. It’s not healthy for me.

Instead, I was able to take the weekend to think about why I started the blog and what I wanted from it.

I started it to record the Library tour. I thought it would give me the motivation to keep going with a massive project and have a little fun along the way.

So, what do I want now? I still want that motivation and I want to write.

I don’t need to think about making money from the blog, especially if worrying about that takes time away from spending time with Squirm. If that comes up down the line, that’s great. But for now I want to concentrate on writing the best possible posts. I want to become a better writer – someone who writes things that make people stop and think every now and again. Down the track I have some ideas for some ebooks, and I’d love to learn more about writing them. I want to keep to the basic plan I came up with last week. And I want to keep the weekends as free as possible to spend time with Squirm and Mr Pilot.

It’s no good being a life blogger if I don’t get out there and live life. I can’t be a life blogger if my life is spent at a computer or spent obsessing over page views.

I need to get out and live!

I Am A Life Blogger

Are you looking for an alternative to the Mummy Blogger tag? Or do you write about similar things to Mummy Bloggers (i.e. – a bit of everything), but you’re not a mother and the tag doesn’t fit? Or are you sick of trying to remember to spell Mummy or Mommy depending on your audience?

Recently I wrote about the discussion over the Mummy Blogger name and how most people who fit into the ‘Mummy Blogger’ category post about a lot more than just their children. I worked it over in my head a bit and decided on a new title:

Life Blogger

This title struck a bit of a chord with some readers, who declared they too felt like Life Bloggers. And it was suggested that they might like a button to declare their status. So, with a bit of help from This Charming Mum, I created a button

I Am A Life Blogger - Adventures of a Subversive Reader
<div align="center"><a href="" title="I Am A Life Blogger - Adventures of a Subversive Reader"><img src="" alt="I Am A Life Blogger - Adventures of a Subversive Reader" style="border:none;" /></a></div>


Now, if I’ve done this right, you should be able to put the button on your own blog to proclaim yourself a Life Blogger. If I get more adventurous later, I might even make a range of buttons so you can choose one that suits your blog better πŸ™‚

Because I wanted to get really advanced (and terrified), I decided to add a Link Up as well. I encourage you to write a post about why you’re a Life Blogger, or what parts of life you’ve been blogging about lately. Then (if I’ve got this working properly) link it up here. No likings or commentings required, though it’s be nice to link back here, and if you want to like me on Facebook, that’d be great too πŸ™‚


Ok, now to cross my fingers and hope I got it all working right. Let me know if I didn’t. Let me know if you’re a Life Blogger too. Let me know what you’re having for lunch . . . πŸ™‚

What Makes Me A Life Blogger

Nearly 13 weeks ago, my life changed forever with the birth of my lovely son. It didn’t take long to realise that we’d be doing thing very differently from now on. I didn’t really know what I was going to do with him most the time, but I knew one thing – I wanted him to appreciate books.

As we quickly made our way through the considerable large pile of books we owned at home, I knew that I wanted more. And I knew that Mr Pilot would not be too impressed if I kept buying them. So I started thinking about libraries. Then I started thinking about how much I like libraries. And how I should visit all the libraries. And then blog about them.

And that’s how this blog was started.

I’ve blogged before. I’ve blogged about teaching and readers workshop and began one before we were pregnant. But this one would be different, I realised, because I wouldn’t be talking about one specialised subject. Instead, I’d create a place where I got to talk about all my passions. And maybe some people would want to come along.

So far I’ve written about motherhood and the upheaval of becoming a mother. I’ve talked about books I’ve read and books I’ve read with Squirm. I’ve talked about craft. I’ve posted a picture of my ukulele. And I’ve talked about libraries.

All in all, I’ve been talking about my life and all the things that reside in it.

That’s what makes me a life blogger πŸ™‚

I Am A Life Blogger - Adventures of a Subversive Reader

The Liebster Award

Mums Take Five nominated me for a Liebster Award!

So what is a Liebster Award? The award is given to support and recognise up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers (on their blog) or likers (on their Facebook page). The word β€œLiebster” apparently has German origins and is reported to mean sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. By following some basic rules (answer 11 questions set by your nominee, write 11 questions of your own and pass the award onto 11 other bloggers to answer) it enables readers to get to know new bloggers and connect with a wider audience.

My Questions:

1. What do you have for Breaky?

I have three weetbix, crumbled, with sultanas and cranberries and lots of milk so it’s mushy. Plus a cup of tea. And maybe some toast. (Hungry, breastfeeding mother here!)

2. Do you still send snail mail Christmas cards?

Nope. Mr Pilot does though

3. What is one Blog you always have a read of?

Whedonesque. Old Buffy fanatic here.

4. What was the last tv show you watched that you really enjoyed?

Glee. Completely guilty pleasure, but oh so much fun. I also really enjoyed Life at 7

5. Do you read Magazines? If so which ones?

Good Reading magazine and random crochet magazines

6. Does your family know you Blog?

Yep. Mr Pilot bought me a shiny new computer to do my blogging on πŸ™‚

7. What was the last item of clothing you bought for yourself? Tell us about it.

Not real interesting. I bought some shirts that open at the front to make breast feeding easier

8. If you are having a shocker of a day what do you do to try and make it better?

Chocolate! And music – the right selection of music can make everything better

9.Through your Blogging have you met anyone you would now consider a friend (cyber ones included)?

I’ve made tonnes of friends through the internet, but I’m still pretty new with this blog. I’m sure I will make lots of good friends though

10. Do you use a Mop at home? What kind is it and does it work?

Yes. I don’t know, Mr Pilot bought it but it does work πŸ™‚

11. If you could do anything today. Anything at all no restrictions what would it be?

Spend the day with Squirm visiting a library and some old work mates – hey! Guess what I’m doing today!

My Nominated Bloggers

And my Questions for Them (with a particular book perspective!)

  1. What was one of your favourite books as a child?
  2. Do you own a e-reading device? Do you like it?
  3. Do you belong to your local library? Do you visit it?
  4. What is one of your favourite books now?
  5. How many books do you think you own?
  6. How do you shelve your books? Subject, author, title, colour?
  7. Have you ever seen a movie that’s better than the book?
  8. Have you ever learned a different language?
  9. If a publisher said they’d publish any book you wrote, what kind of book would you write?
  10. What author would you like to meet?
  11. Have you got a book recommendation?


Getting the Blog Organised

Slowly, over the last two months, I’ve been working out how Adventures of a Subversive Reader is going to work. Some things I’ve tried have worked really well. Others – not so much.

At the moment, I have a rough calendar worked out for each week. Monday is Library Tour day, with a new library tour each week. Tuesday is a blog post for IBOT (I Blog on Tuesdays). Wednesday is Squirm’s book reviews. Friday is Smell the Roses Day. There will also be a post of some sort on Thursdays, and possibly some posts on the weekend.

As I start to enjoy the community I’ve found while blogging, I wanted to open up to the possibility of guest blog posts. I’d thoroughly welcome Guest Library posts, if you feel like talking about your local or favourite library. These wouldn’t be overly scheduled, but would run on Mondays. If anyone wanted to contribute a guest book review, that would also be welcomed – particularly for children’s books.

If you have any suggestions or a blog post, feel free to email me at or just leave a comment below!

My 50th Post – What Have I Learned?

On September the 11th, less than 2 months ago, I made my very first blog post in this blog. Today, I am posting my 50th. Of course, some things have changed in that short time – things are always changing when you have an infant. Squirm is nearly 12 weeks old and is less into the toy elephant and more into anything he can fit into his mouth. I can drive again after the 6 weeks after my c-section. And I discovered an awesome community of people online.

What have I Learned?

  • Posting every day or almost every day isn’t too hard with a little preparation. The scheduling tool is brilliant.
  • Get involved with link ups. It’s the best way to meet other awesome bloggers
  • Don’t spend all day obsessively refreshing the stats page. it’s just sad
  • Use photos – they look pretty
  • Reply to comments as much as possible
  • Link up with Facebook and Twitter – another way to meet people
  • Start saving to go to a blogging conference some day πŸ™‚
  • I really want a smart phone to make taking pictures easier
  • I probably should organise some business cards – people are always interested in the blog when I talk to them about it πŸ™‚

Because I’m pretty stoked that this is my 50th post, I decided to tell you 5 things you may not know about me:

  1. I’m a big geek when it comes to Buffy, West Wing, Spooks, Harry Potter and Glee
  2. I’ve been on the internet since around 1996. I started with very basic web pages and taught myself basic html
  3. I met Mr Pilot when we both worked at the Myer Centre Eatery
  4. Although my Bachelor of Arts had a major in history, one of my favourite classes was an American Politics class
  5. My favourite colours have been green and pink for a while, but I’m developing a real affection for nice blues at the moment

Looking for me elsewhere?

Facebook – Adventure of a Subversive Reader
Twitter – @subversiveread
Email – subversive