Category Archives: Ideas

Return Yourself to the Library these School Holidays 

Need some ideas for what to do during the school holidays ? Your public libraries can help! Libraries are a great source of low-cost and no-cost activities and educational and entertainment options for all ages. Whether you want to attend organised workshops and activities in-person, or borrow materials – including books, DVDs, even console/board games or robotics toys – to create your own activities at home, libraries have you covered.
In my home state of Victoria, public libraries are running a campaign called Return Yourself to Your Library. As libraries return to full services following disruptions caused by the pandemic, they would love to remind their members (past, present and future!) of the wide range of services they offer. Not only are they a great source of borrowable and/or downloadable materials, they can also support your entertainment and creativity needs, as well as being welcoming spaces where you can make new friends and feel part of a community.
In today’s blogpost I am highlighting some activities offered by libraries around and beyond Victoria, to show the diversity of events available. I hope this inspires you to contact your nearest library to see what they have to offer. From story times and craft workshops to robotics and dance sessions, library events can add some welcomed variety to your school holidays!

Image Source: City Of Melbourne

Treasure Hunt at the City of Melbourne Libraries
Whether you live in the City of Melbourne, or are visiting for the day, you can drop into one of their five branches (City Library on Flinders Lane, Southbank, Docklands, North Melbourne, East Melbourne, and Kathleen Syme in Carlton) for a treasure hunt! Follow the clues, discover some surprises, find the hidden pictures and collect your treasure! This is a self-guided activity available anytime during library opening hours – speak to a staff member for full details. Also look out for pop-up library spaces throughout the CBD – perfect for a bit of quiet downtime or free internet access.

The Australian Ballet at Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries
One of the biggest library services in Melbourne, Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries is offering an extensive holiday program across its nine branches.  One highlight is its collaboration with The Australian Ballet – ballet storytime for young children (5 years and under) at Watsonia Library, and STEAM dance workshops for 5-12 year olds at Ivanhoe Library.  These workshops encourage and nurture movement, creativity as well as literacy. No dance experience required, bookings essential.  Other holiday activities include movie afternoons, Minecraft and coding.

Little Warriors Yoga at the State Library of Victoria Every Wednesday, you and your preschooler can enjoy a fun and free 45-minute yoga class hosted by Little Warriors Yoga.  Help your little one grow into happy and confident beings with tips on stretching, calmness and wellbeing.  Two sessions available every Wednesday morning, bookings essential.  Part of the Playdate at the Library series of events suitable for 3-5 year olds. And while you are there, why not explore the beautiful spaces in this iconic building, including the famous Dome Reading Room, and the beautifully refurbished, dedicated Children’s Quarter?

LEGO Club at the Geelong Libraries The popular LEGO Club at the Geelong Regional Libraries is running a bricktastic workshop as part of its school holiday program, where you can make new friends and explore your creativity.  These sessions are for parents and children to build together, and can suit diverse needs, especially for children on the autism spectrum.  Sessions are held at the Bannockburn Library and are suitable for 5-11 year olds.

Image Source: Goldfields Libraries

Make a seed bomb at the Goldfields Libraries
The Goldfields Libraries service a number of central Victorian towns including Bendigo, Castlemaine, Gisborne and Kyneton.  The current school holiday program has a Peter Rabbit theme and focusses on hands-on activities including craft, LEGO and robotics.  If you have young people who love gardening and/or messy play, drop into one of their branches and make a Seed Bomb.  Seed bombs are a tried-and-true method of providing an optimal environment for germinating seeds – great for home-use and also as gifts.  All materials supplied.

Laser-cut Jewellery workshop for teens at the City of Sydney Library
Further afield, the City of Sydney Libraries are hosting a range of creative workshops at their Darling Square Library.  Many public libraries offer Maker Spaces with equipment that are free to use and help support your creativity – from sewing machines to 3D printers to design software and even sound studios.  The gorgeous new Darling Square Library is offering a jewellery-making session for adults and older teens.  Suitable for beginners, the workshop will show you how to use Adobe Illustrator software to create a design, that can then be turned into reality using a laser cutter on plywood or perspex.  Follow the link for booking and cost details.

Setting Goals in 2022

It’s the start of a new year when we usually dive in with blind optimism with lists of things we dream of doing and challenging ourselves with for the year ahead. However, in these uncertain times, we face the start of another new year with a little trepidation, wondering if we will be able to actually get out and about to attempt to achieve these activities we have set ourselves. 

Fear not, we have rustled up a few great books that will give you the nudge you may need to give things a go; whether it is to expand your business, challenge your mind, learn to be less ’online’ or accept that you don’t have to ‘achieve’ things everyday. 

Have you got any favourite books that help you reset each new year? Let us know in the comments below and we will compile them into a recommended list. 

Million Dollar Micro Business by Tina Tower

Tina Tower delivers a new and smarter way to do business that avoids huge overheads and large capital investments. Fuelled by recent innovations in technology and shifts in consumer behaviour, Tina shows you a new way to have a big impact with few resources. You’ll learn how to create a digital course based on expertise you’ve gained through your life, business, academic work, and career. The book is a practical and tangible guide to getting started and offers a proven framework and case studies of people who have scaled courses into seven-figure ventures and is perfect for entrepreneurs, seasoned professionals, educated experts, and anyone else interested in sharing their knowledge with the world around them.

Let Go by Hugh van Cuylenburg

From the bestselling author of The Resilience Project comes this deeply personal book about the power of letting go. If ever there was a time for us to be resilient it was when a deadly virus engulfed the planet. As death rates soared and crippling lockdowns kicked in, the Resilience Project founder Hugh Van Cuylenburg was one of the people Australia turned to in order to find out how to cope. Under pressure to deliver good news in a historic crisis, it didn’t take long for the Melbourne-based educator to realise he wasn’t coping. Like millions of people around the world, Hugh was forced to reassess life during the 2020-21 pandemic as Covid undermined our sense of safety, strangled our personal connections and saw levels of happiness plunge. After taking the time to address his own problems, Hugh recognised he was being hamstrung by the same powerful issues that undermine the lives of many- our feelings of shame, our quest for perfection and the toxicity of social media. In this follow-up to the best-selling The Resilience Project- Finding Happiness through Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness, Hugh combines powerful insight with research and his own disarming and candid storytelling to show how it is possible to let go of the things that are stopping us from feeling connected, safe and happy.

You’re Doing It Wrong by Kaz Cooke

You’re Doing it Wrong is an outrageous tour through the centuries of bonkers and bad advice handed down and foisted upon women, told as only Kaz Cooke can – with humour and rage, intelligence and wit. A fresh, funny and furious look at the terrible advice women have been told for centuries. Stroll with bestselling author Kaz Cooke through instructions on how to day-drink, wear a dress made of arsenic, pretend you’re an idiot, have sex with a billionaire biker, curtsey, get properly harassed at work, exercise your nose, oppress other women and frighten your uterus. Using hundreds of amazing photos and illustrations, and the experiences of generations of women in her own family, You’re Doing It Wrong shows how advice has been a weapon against us – and how by recognising it, we can ignore it. And totally cheer up. Warning- contains unbridled swearing about famous philosophers.

Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown

This major new work from the international bestselling author of Gifts of Imperfection and Dare to Lead examines the 87 emotions and experiences that define us, and provides a compelling framework to help us all become more emotionally fluent and connected. In her latest book Dr Brene Brown writes, “If we want to find the way back to ourselves and each other, we need language and the grounded confidence to both tell our stories, and to be stewards of the stories that we hear. This is the framework for meaningful connection.” In Atlas of the Heart, Brown takes us on a journey through the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and lays out an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances – a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heart-breaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection. Over the past two decades, Brown’s extensive research into the experiences that make us who we are has shaped the cultural conversation and helped define what it means to be courageous with our lives.

Cain’s Jawbone by Edward Powys Mathers

If James Joyce and Agatha Christie had a literary lovechild, this would be it. Cain’s Jawbone is a 100-page whodunnit in which six people die. 

In 1934, the Observer’s cryptic crossword compiler, Edward Powys Mathers (aka Torquemada), released a novel that was simultaneously a murder mystery and the most fiendishly difficult literary puzzle ever written. To find out who killed them, the reader must re-order the book’s pages. There is only one correct solution. To date, only three people have ever found it. The pages have been printed in an entirely haphazard order, but it is possible – through logic and intelligent reading – to sort the pages into the only correct order, revealing six murder victims and their respective murderers.

Please note: this puzzle is extremely difficult and not for the faint-hearted. Be sure to let us know on any of Booko’s social media channels if you attempt to take this challenge on and how you go. 

I Didn’t Do The Thing Today by Madeleine Dore

An antidote to our obsession with busyness, author Madeleine Dore explores the joys of releasing ourselves from the burden of productivity guilt. Curious about how people navigate their days, Madeleine Dore turned to interviewing hundreds of creative thinkers and experts to find the secret to productivity. What she discovered instead was far more enriching: there is more to value in each day than what we do – or don’t do. I Didn’t Do the Thing Today is the antidote to our doing-obsession. Madeleine explores the stumbles of productivity guilt, including comparison, perfectionism and indecision, and encourages us to focus less on our ‘to do’ list and more on stepping fully into every moment of our lives. For anyone who has ever thought they had to do more to do better, be better, be enough, I Didn’t Do the Thing Today is an inspiring call to take productivity off its pedestal and find more connection, creativity, and contentment in its place.

Enjoy!

Christmas Gift Guides: Gift Guide for Your Best Friend

It’s inching closer to Christmas and Team Booko is here to help with six suggestions of which books to gift your style-loving Bestie this festive season. We have scoured the best of the best home decorating and style guides and we know the books below are going to be enjoyed by anyone who is lucky enough to unwrap them this December. 

Sit back and get clicking. Also, just a little reminder that this is the time of year that posties get a little inundated so it may be worthwhile ordering sooner rather than later and allowing a little longer for delivery. 

How We Love: Notes on a life by Clementine Ford

How We Love is a deeply personal exploration of love in all its forms from a feminist icon and bestselling author of Fight Like a Girl and Boys Will Be Boys. Clementine Ford is a person who has loved deeply, strangely and with curiosity. She is fascinated by love and the multiple ways it makes its home in our hearts and believes that the way we continue to surrender ourselves to love is an act of great faith and bravery. This tender and lyrical memoir explores love in its many forms through Clementine’s own experiences. With clear eyes and an open heart, she writes about losing her adored mother far too young, about the pain and confusion of first love (both platonic and romantic) and the joy and heartache of adult love. She writes movingly about the transcendent and transformative journey to motherhood and the similarly monumental path to self-love. How We Love is heartfelt, funny, confessional, revelatory, compassionate, and essential reading. It shows us to ourselves in moments of unwavering truth and undeniable joy.

Three Birds Renovations Dream Home How-To by Bonnie Hindmarsh, Erin
Cayless, Lana Taylor

The long-awaited next instalment from the authors of Australia’s number 1 home improvement book (you can see that here) Australia’s favourite Birds are back with bigger home transformations, bolder extensions, breathtaking new builds and hundreds of new tips. Jam-packed with reno goodness, this book is a visual feast overflowing with ideas and inspiration from Three Birds projects in glorious detail, including their most ambitious new build to date: a family home that channels an idyllic island getaway (year-round staycation, anyone?). Go behind the scenes to see how the Birds make over their own spaces for work and play. First up, a tour of Three Birds HQ guaranteed to spark ideas and help you turn a humble home office into boss-worthy territory. Next, their spin on Christmas decorating, stuffed full of frugal and festive DIY hacks, will come in handy every year whether you rent, own or live in a caravan. The cherry on top of this inspiration smorgasbord comes courtesy of their very own savvy students! In a bonus chapter, graduates of the Birds’ super-popular online Reno School share images and advice from their own incredible projects, dream spaces created using tips and money-saving tricks learned from the Three Birds. Proving, once again, that anyone can make reno magic with the right know-how.

A Year at the Chateau by Dick and Angel Strawbridge

Like many couples, Dick and Angel had long dreamed of living in France, but where others might settle for a modest bolthole in the French countryside, the Strawbridges fell in love with a 19th-century fairytale chateau, complete with 45 rooms, seven outbuildings, 12 acres of land and its own moat. Throwing caution to the wind, Dick and Angel swapped their two-bedroom flat in East London for an abandoned and derelict castle in the heart of the Loire valley and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime with their two young children Arthur and Dorothy. Sharing their full journey for the first time, A Year at the Chateau follows Dick and Angel from when they first moved to France in the depths of winter and found bedrooms infested with flies, turrets inhabited by bats, the wind rattling through cracked windows, and just one working toilet, which flushed into the moat, through to the monumental efforts that went into readying the chateau for their unforgettable wedding and their incredibly special first Christmas. Along the way we’ll read glorious descriptions of rural life in France, with charming characters, delicious food and wonderful seasonal produce, together with the extraordinary list of renovations and restorations Dick and Angel completed, many of which were never shown on TV. As warm and entertaining as their much-loved show, A Year at the Chateau is a truly irresistible story of adventure and heart, epic ambitions and a huge amount of hard graft.

A Room of Her Own: Inside the Homes and Lives of Creative Women by Robyn Lea

A Room of Her Own features the dazzling homes of twenty extraordinary women around the globe. Across sitting rooms and studios, salon-style hangs and table settings, this is a book of daring inspiration. In this new Renaissance period – a time of artistic, cultural and intellectual rebirth – these women have chosen to carve out their own space to live creatively. Artists, designers, makers and curators invite us into their domestic and professional domains to reveal a world of meaning and purpose beyond status and consumerism. Now, more than ever, we are searching for new ways of thinking, new ways of living. These pages are filled with beautiful rooms, but Robyn Lea’s gorgeous photography and evocative texts look beyond the aesthetics to explore the ideals and practices of these women and guide us all on a new and exciting path forward. A Room of Her Own is a manifesto for the 21st century.

Principles of Style by Sarah Andrews

In Principles of Style, Sarah Andrews presents her unique take on teaching design, drawing on her experience of working in the industry and as a teacher in her school, which has reached cult status around the world. Importantly, Principles of Style aims to be a timeless learning tool for readers, no matter their own personal style, with Sarah revealing many of the ideas, tips and skills she has accumulated along the way. She does this by examining some of her key projects and favourite rooms, as well as by focusing on her ten rules of styling, formulated both through hands-on experience and studies in the science of design. Sarah believes that everyone has the ability to create interiors that are right for them; in this inspiring and eminently practical book, she aims to demonstrate just how to do so.

Nature Style: Cultivating Wellbeing at Home with Plants by Alana Langan,
Jacqui Vidal

It’s no secret that time spent in nature is good for us. Nature helps us thrive, improves our health and wellbeing, decreases stress and increases happiness. But if you don’t have the luxury of a forest at your doorstep, bringing the outside in can provide an immediate connection to the natural world and the many benefits that come with it. From the founders of the botanical emporium Ivy Muse comes a practical guide to styling the home for health and harmony, using nature as a blueprint. With expert advice on houseplants and how to style them, as well as pro-tips on the choice of decor and materials, finishes and furnishings, this book shows how natural elements can be incorporated into almost every room in the house – both effectively and affordably. Nature Style is for all those who seek to restore body and mind in a natural and nurturing home environment where houseplants are the heroes.

Enjoy!

The Booko Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is fast approaching – and, for those of us who cannot celebrate with our father-figures in person, what better way to show our appreciation than through a well-chosen book? Easy to buy and send for the giver, and hours of enjoyment for the receiver! Here are some Booko favourites for Father’s Day gifting:

Blessed: The Breakout Year of Rampaging Roy Slaven by John Doyle

It seems entirely appropriate that the launch of Rampaging Roy Slaven’s memoirs coincides with this year’s Olympic Games – after all, Roy and his partner HG Nelson are two of Australia’s best Olympics commentators. Blessed is the coming-of-age story of this Australian icon, raconteur, and athlete of “unsurpassable sporting feats” – a record of Roy’s “breakout” year as a 15 year-old in Lithgow, rural NSW in 1967. Blessed is a tender and insightful depiction of a community on the cusp of great change -it handles some difficult issues with a light but respectful touch. With additional tantalising hints of the life of John Doyle, the fictional Roy’s creator, this intriguing fictional memoir is a must-read.

We Were Not Men by Campbell Mattinson

Looking for a big, emotional story after finishing Boy Swallows Universe or Bridge of Clay? We Were Not Men may just do the trick (praised by Trent Dalton himself as “gut-punching” and “soul-restoring” ). We Were Not Men is a powerful, moving and ultimately uplifting story of twin brothers, Jon and Eden, and their grandmother Bobbie. Thrown together as the remnants of a family fractured by a shocking accident, we see the effort and bravery it takes to heal from unspeakable tragedy, and we also see the ebb and flow of the twins’ bond as they grow up, compete against each other, leave each other behind and catch up with each other again. Campbell Mattinson’s debut novel has been 30 years in the making – and is absolutely worth the wait.

Take One Fish: the New School of Scale-to-Tail Cooking and Eating by Josh Niland

Josh Niland is so respected that his masterclasses pack out concert halls. He is particularly known for “Scale-to-Tail” eating and cooking, adapting this sustainable and respectful approach from meat cookery. Take One Fish offers recipes for 15 global species of fish – from cheap and accessible sardines and herrings, to luxe coral trout and groper. These recipes utilise as much as 90% of each fish (nearly double of regular recipes) through innovative cutting and cooking techniques. Look out for his surprising and perfect recipes of fish versions of classic dishes, including Peking coral trout, swordfish schnitzel and John Dory liver terrine – terrific inspiration, especially for Foodies and pescatarians!

Halliday Wine Companion 2022 by James Halliday

Every year, the wine industry awaits the latest edition of the Halliday Wine Companion as eagerly as wine lovers. This bestseller is widely recognised as the go-to guide to Australian wine, with comprehensive reviews by a trusted team of critics. There’s information on wine ratings, alcohol content, best by drinking, regions, winery reviews and varietals, and it also highlights the best of the year’s output with its prestigious awards for wines, winemakers as well as for wineries. Halliday Wine Companion has all you need to know about wine buying and collecting, plus it makes a great guidebook for wine tourism!

Tales From The Perilous Realm by J. R. R. Tolkien

For father-figures who love fantasy, here is a beautifully-illustrated volume that collects Tolkien’s five novellas for the first time. Tales From the Perilous Realm contains Farmer Giles of Ham, Roverandom, The Tale of Tom Bombadil, Leaf by Niggle, and Smith of Wootton Major – these are Tolkien’s take on fairy tales, and they are as full of magic, adventure and charm as his longer works. Their shorter lengths also make them great read-alouds! The delicate and detailed illustrations are by Alan Lee, who has a deep connection to Tolkien’s worlds through previously illustrating editions of The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit, as well as working on concept art for both film series.

How We Became Human: and Why We Need to Change by Tim Dean

Philosopher and journalist Tim Dean tries to make sense of our current social flashpoints – including racism, sexism, religious conflict and partisan politics – in his first book, How We Became Human. Tim suggests that, over thousands of years, humans have developed morality, and associated “moral emotions” (such as empathy, guilt and outrage), to differentiate between friend and foe. These are powerful tools that have helped humans co-exist in ever-larger, more productive societies. However, our morals have fallen out of step with our increasingly diverse world; so we will need to separate what’s natural from what’s right, in order to reframe morality for the modern world. How to Be Human is a compelling read for those who love to ponder life’s big questions.