A Bunch of Fives #5

Oh wow!!  Procrastination and quitting are good friends of mine so I am pretty pleased to announce that we have made it to 5 issues of the Bunch of Fives newsletter!! Thanks for sticking with us and we hope you enjoy our little tidbits on all things Sarah and Amber for this fortnight. Please forward this on to anyone who you think might be into it and get them to subscribe!

From My Bookshelf:


The Messy Monster Book by Rachel Ortas

I picked up this book while on holidays down the coast purely for its cute cover and illustrations. My 5 year old daughter Clem wasn’t convinced and didn’t want me to buy it. So I said I was buying it for me. She relented later that night and let me read her the weird story about a messy monster who eats your socks, and travels to the planet of the dreaming mountains to help the poor creatures back on Kirikiri Island who cant sleep because they are haunted by nightmares. He also helps find the ’muse’ that allows the musical cat to get the orchestra back together. Yup, its weird alright, but so so cute. And Clem wanted to read it every night for a week. That’s a win in my book.


Frankie (magazine)

I have not bought a magazine for a very long time now, I don’t think it has been a year but it would have to be getting close to it for sure. Until yesterday. I went through a phase of subscribing and religiously buying certain monthly home style-y magazines but I began to feel as though I was just seeing/reading the same thing dressed differently for different publications over and over... Not only that, but when I did a quick guesstimate of how much I was spending on magazines in a year I felt a little sick so I stopped buying them, cold turkey. I am pretty sure I haven’t saved a cent but I don’t miss them and it has made me get back into reading books whenever I get the opportunity to sit about for a while. Back in my crazy magazine-fuelled days I used to buy every issue of Frankie without fail. I love the unrestrained writing, the thought-provoking articles; it’s smart, humorous and doesn’t take itself too seriously even when it has to. It covers things like design, music, art, fashion, travel- all the stuff other magazines ‘do’- but with street cred, sass and a controlled measure of wholesomeness chucked in there as well. I'm also a bit (a lot) hopeless when people dangle pretty papery things in front of my face so I’m blaming the yearly planner, the kind Frankie people have included in this issue, as the reason for my slip and giant fall off the mag-wagon. Frankie comes out bi-monthly and the newest edition is out now. It is also the most expensive edition for the year (of course it is) cause of the added paper goodies but it is so worth it.

Old Timey:


I’ve mentioned my love of old embroidery before but I am also a fan of the lost art of smocking. Not the modern kind that you see in craft fairs and CWA shops adorning baby rompers  made of harsh poly-cotton, printed in a horrible purple and pink fairy pattern (or those ghastly ‘John Deere’ tractor themed fabrics...but thats a rant for another time). I love the old timey kind: small, intricate, delicate folds stitched carefully together on a frail piece of threadbare cotton lawn or soft, well loved viyella wool. I have a number of these tiny beauties,  handed down to me from my mother and Grandma. My brothers and I wore some of them as little babes as did my own babies. I would get stopped in the street by little old ladies who would touch my babies dress and say “look at that beautiful smocking...that must be old”. I guess Kmart and Cotton On are more the norm these days for little dresses but I will be content to hang these on my daughters bedroom wall until she is old enough to say ‘Ugh Mum! Take down those old timey dresses!”



Sex Tips for Husbands & Wives From 1884 - Ruth Smythers.

When I finally got engaged, my mother and a couple of her friends found this little gem and bought it for me whilst they giggled like a bunch of schoolgirls in the back of a newsagency who were seeing a Cleo centrefold for the first time. (I actually do remember this happening but having a ve-e-ry different reaction to seeing Jack Thompson’s ‘display’. I was horrified, as should STILL be the natural response by anyone viewing it today. Google it. It ain’t good). I am still not really convinced that it was written by a Reverends wife or if someone is just taking the mickey- whatever the truth, it does not change the fact that it is hilarious.  Oh Ruthie…your advice is definitely questionable at times but at others, your wisdom is Truth. According to Mrs Smythers, if you are a ‘good wife’, you should have limited your sexual encounters to once a week by the end of the first year of marriage, once a month by the time you’re celebrating your fifth anniversary, and after 10 years you should have achieved the ‘ultimate goal of terminating all sexual encounters with [your] husband’. (Oh how I laughed and cried alternatively at the dream versus the actual reality of her advice). She also counsels that if hubby dearest ‘attempts to kiss your hand, [you] should make a fist’. Hmm…

My husband was responsible for making a speech at his sister’s wedding years ago but he woke the morning of the big day with nothing prepared. Scrambling for ideas and fast running out of time, I offered him this book and with that little gem in his hands (and I say this without any prejudice whatsoever) he managed to adlib THE BEST best man speech I have heard at a wedding, ever. You could almost hear the guests’ collective gasp for air when he introduced the title of the little tome, and I swear the roof of the marquee rose three feet when they all breathed out upon realising his speech was going to be very tongue in cheek, so to speak. He wove a very clever PG rated story for the newlyweds and ended with the authors very clear and sage advice for his sister’s future (written in capitals by ole Ruth, mind you) to;





(again, I laugh/cry/pour myself another drink)

Luckily for my sister in law she should be set to give up the whole shebang (pun intended) in a couple more years...hang in there, sister. Hang. In. There.

Art/Creative Stuff/Instagram:


Here’s an insta account I’ve been getting into lately. Her name is @sarah_louise_ferg. Sarah is a blogger/writer/photographer from Scotland and her photos are pretty amazing. She plays a little with everyday shots and self portraits to make them magical. A little bird here, a snowflake there and every image is a little wonderland all done in those lovely muted, brownish grey tones. Take a look, it will brighten your day. Promise.


I’ve recently started following the whimsical posts by Bronte Huskinson (@bookishbronte) on Instagram. If you love books, good book recommendations and some quirky artiness thrown in the mix, then check out this young lady’s feed. Every day she posts a gorgeous bookish themed photo or painstakingly creates and photographs scenes inspired by (mostly) well known novels. They are divine and some of them must take her an age to make. There’s an air of childlike wonder and fantasy about them that is done so well and is so in keeping with her subject. She is also a published author, a photographer and she writes for the Huffington Post all at the ripe old age of 22. She is positively bursting with talent.




This HBO comedy show I’ve been hooked on is the best series on relationships and marriage (and break ups) I’ve seen in ages. It stars Sarah Jessica Parker and an awesome cast made up of some hilarious actors who I LOVE. Jermaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords for one (that alone is worth watching for) as well as funny lady Molly Shannon and Thomas Haden Church (remember the out of work actor from ‘Sideways’? Ned and Stacey?) He plays Parkers husband who discovers her affair and pushes for divorce. I’m watching it on Pay TV but if you are a lucky duck that can get Netflix you will probably find it there. Or do the old-school box set thing from JB HiFi. Watch it now!

Oh, and it has the BEST soundtrack – all those killer 1970s tracks we all know and love. You can listen to the official soundtrack on Spotify too.


I went to my first gig of the year a couple of weekend’s ago in Sydney and this year is shaping up to be full of live music which makes me one happy mother. The Sydney Festival just happened to be on as well, so my friend and I spent a little time in the Festival Village in Hyde Park having a few cheeky drinks before walking across the road to the Domain for the main event. I love outdoor gigs and Sydney was putting on a gorgeous summer’s night for the thousands of folk that came to see The xx perform their final Australian show of their ‘I See You’ tour. It was an all age’s gig so it was a diverse gathering of souls. There were the drunken mums directly in front of me, dancing and hugging each other conspiratorially cause they’d managed to jag the night off from being ‘just mum’. (No judgement here. I'm usually flying the flag for this subgroup but not this night; I was not wasting any time lining up for a portaloo sans toilet paper and missing out on one moment of the performance). There were the young teens who had clearly spent an hour or so leading up to the gig drinking Passion Pop in an obscure corner of a park somewhere, falling over one another and singing along loudly to every word of every song. (I kid you not- when the band came out one of the gang did not even look at the stage for FOUR WHOLE SONGS because he was too busy singing AT one of his friends to even bother to watch them. My mate and I could not believe what we were seeing…the arrogance of youth in action. Gah!). At one point there was a young girl no older than 5 years old on her dads shoulders bopping along next to me; I noticed a few old guys sniffing conspicuously so as to DRAW attention to the fact they were taking some kind of drug and should still be considered hip and cool (note: they weren’t/aren’t). There was so much weed smoking going on you didn’t need to risk taking your own -if you're that way inclined- cause it was being passed around like we were at Woodstock. There were clubbers who were using the gig as a prelude to their all night benders at Arq or Home (Ergh, listen to me. I don’t even know if they're the cool clubs either, they're the only ones I know. For all I know they don’t even exist anymore), and then there were the sober lot of the congregation who were there for the natural high The xx’s music provided and, for once, I fell into this category. They were brilliant and it was much more frenetically paced than I imagined it would be. Their music is generally quite relaxed and chill (baby making music, if you will) but with Jamie Smith doubling up as Jamie xx it was pumping from the get go. The night ended on a wonderful note as the crowd drained from the Domain, hundreds of people singing at the top of their lungs to “Young Hearts Run Free” from the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack. I heart Sydney. It was such a joyous occasion and The xx have set the bar very high for a gig coming up in February that I'm going to let Sarah gush about after we’ve seen him.



(This entry could almost qualify for Old Timey but its not quite old enough) I recently rejoined my old swimming club as a swimmer and am loving having (slow) 50m sprints every now and again in the old Quandialla pool. I even race against my own kids sometimes, much to their complete mortification. These days they all have fancy-schmancy swimming costumes and caps bearing the Quandialla emblem, the echidna (Quandialla is Wiradjuri for echidna). In my day, we had these shirts. This one is my Dads old one and I can still see him standing there near the blocks helping the coach to judge the time trials and carnivals in this shirt and his stamped leather sandals. I might get Trev to start wearing it....


I experienced my first case of FOMO the other night with the whole super blue blood moon phenomenon. Did anyone else destroy a decent night’s sleep trying to capture a glimpse of this rare event through a cloudy night sky on Wednesday evening? I even set my alarm for the moment because I really didn’t want to miss out on seeing it, but every time I peered outside all I could see was a faint soft glow beneath a thick (and getting thicker by the minute) layer of cloud. I checked the peak time for the full eclipse again and went to bed. I even decided to sleep in the spare room because from my position in that bed I didn’t even have to get up, I could just watch the natural occurrence take place through the window all snuggled up beneath the sheets. I think I made it till 11:44pm before I jumped out of bed with my cumbersome manual camera in hand and went out into the night to try and get a few shots of Mother Nature turning it on. The skies hadn’t been cooperating at all but as if in a moment of cosmos intervention and star alignment etc the wind calmed, the clouds parted and there it was in all its orange-ish majesty. I am not kidding. These things actually happened. What failed to happen was my camera’s ability to actually focus on a single thing. I was not prepared for how cold it was going to be outside nor how much time I was prepared to waste fiddling with my clunking camera instead of just looking up and marvelling at what was going on in front of my eyes. Nope, I was like that idiot filming a gig whilst they are AT the gig, so I gave up, took a couple of seconds to admire the spectacle and went back to bed. A few minutes later I got back out of bed and tried to take a photo with my phone and because I went to all of that effort I thought I would share the magic with you. You're welcome.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.