Monday, 30 August 2010

Ladies who lunch

This morning I decided Lil-lil and I needed to to spend some time together, one-on-one. She tends to have to share the limelight with her sister quite a lot, so I thought it would be nice to do something grown up together. Something just for her.

So, we got on the bus, went into town and grabbed lunch and a movie. Her eyes were abuzz with all the action of the city. I think her eyes nearly popped out of her head when we stepped into the cinema complex and she saw a life-size Buzz and Woody, "I can't believe it!" she crowed.

With an enormous box of popcorn on her lap, her eyes remained popping as she sat and watched Tinkerbell on the big screen. As soon as the lights came on at the end, she jumped up and said "Let's have lunch at a restaurant." How could I refuse?

The height of sophistication for Lil-lil is a Sushi Train, as luck would have it there was one next door to the movie. As soon as she spotted the Japanese delights turning on the conveyor belt, she dragged me over. "This is the restaurant where we eat."

We got back on the bus, tired and full. It felt a little indulgent for a Monday, but before I know it she'll be off at school and these opportunities to play ladies will become less. I'm soaking up these moments.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Nothing better

The past week or so, there has been very little sleep happening in this household, less than usual (which isn't a lot). Yesterday, I was walking around like a zombie. Numb. A shell.

My mum came over, took one look and suggested I tuck myself up in bed with Goosey (who was as tired as I, but never likes to miss out on a minute of the day) and have a nap while she entertained Lil-lil. I didn't hesitate and within minutes of snuggling under the doona we were both snoring away.

There is nothing more blissful than a siesta. It's pure luxury. The end.

It's something I didn't appreciate fully until I had kids and sleep became oh so precious.

A solid two hours later, we stretched that contented stretch,  slowly waking ready to tackle the afternoon. Feeling more human than I had in days.  I'm moving to a country where everyone takes an arvo nap. There is truly nothing better.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Sticky moments

On the weekend, we took a little adventure out to the western suburbs of Sydney. Now, this wasn't an aimless adventure. No, we had a sticky situation that we desperately wanted to get involved in.

We'd had a taste of it before, but we needed to go and experience it for ourselves. Just what am I talking about, exactly? Abla's Pastry at Granville.

Abla's is the home to trays and trays of filo nutty treats, syrupy stickiness that have your lips smacking. I love Lebanese sweets, but these gems are on another level. On Saturday night, these crispy yet syrupy morsels proved the best way to swallow the election results. Packed with pistachios and cashews they were the only thing nuttier than the ballot count.

Lil-lil thought they were the best and her bottom lip dropped the following morning when she saw the dish was almost empty. The best thing about Abla's? You buy by the kilo!

Is there anything so good, so delicious that you travel miles for?

Monday, 23 August 2010

Racing retro

This morning my house is filthy, the kids are snotty and I'm tired and cranky. So, I'm going to pretend that they only thing I have to focus on this week is my frock for the races on Saturday, in the hope that the other mundane problems will vanish!

As I've mentioned before, Skip and I go to the races often. A lot of Saturdays throughout the year at least one of us can be found trackside. This Saturday is the Golden Rose Day, the biggest day of the Spring Carnival at Rosehill. I'm hoping it will be a warm sunny day, perfect to relax, have a glass of champagne, catch up with friends and watch all the action – hopefully win a few pennies as well.

My wardrobe is quite sad, the only things in it are park wear and race wear, with not much in between. Seeing as the races are the only time I really get away from taking the kids to the park, I guess it's OK. Despite having a fair few race frocks in the cupboard, it might be nice to buy just one more...

As I've been watching a lot of Mad Men recently, I think a heavily-tailored retro look will be the way to go this Saturday with gloves and hat to match. Elise Silk in Leichhardt is my favourite race wear designer, who I'm sure will have just the thing.

Here are a couple of Betty Draper looks that I'd like to try out this Saturday (though in reality, a frock from the cupboard will be making another appearance).

Saturday, 21 August 2010

A stroll down memory lane

During the week, during my blog break, I had a couple of hours without the girls. I decided it was the perfect time to get out into the sunshine and take a long walk. I went down to a harbourside reserve that I used to spend heaps of time at while I was growing up. Many summer nights were spent here eating BBQ chook and rolls, swimming and watching the sun set. I have so many good memories of this place. We watched New Year's Eve fireworks, watched the Bicentenary celebrations here, Naval celebrations, Australia Day and had parties and many gatherings. One summer I think we ate dinner almost every night with my aunt and cousins. 

While walking down memory lane, I took some photos. Funny how everything looks the same, if not a little smaller. Join me as I get all nostalgic.

Not a bad view.
I remember standing on this rock with my cousin when I was about 9 or 10 and he telling about nuclear warfare, I was scared for years afterwards.
The world's best view from a swimming pool.
We used to carol outside this house on Christmas Eve and the occupants would throw chocolates.
We slept here the night before the Bicentenary to bags our spot.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Thank you, Tony Abbott

As you all know I've been lacking a bit of fire in the belly recently. Well this morning I was listening to the radio and heard the words "On Sunday we may well have a new PM in Tony Abbott."

I got goosebumps. Not the good kind. The fire was reignited, it became a blaze. I was ready to blog again.

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia. Those are very, very scary words. As former PM, Paul Keating said "If Tony Abbott becomes Prime Minister of Australia, then God help us".

Can people seriously have forgotten WorkChoices? Forgotten the time when Abbott was Health Minister and stripped $1 billion from the hospital system? When as Health Minister used his own religious beliefs to block the introduction of RU486? When he fell asleep in his office and missed the vote for the government's stimulus package, which he now says he was 'strenuously opposed to'?

Remember when Mr Abbott said a paid parental leave system would happen "over this government's dead body". I suspect if he becomes PM his paid parental leave system will vanish with his other non-core policies.

Remember when he said climate change was "absolute crap".

Remember when he said he felt "threatened" by gay people.

I am a Labor supporter, but if Malcom Turnbull or Joe Hockey were the Liberal leader I would not be writing this post, urging you to think about who you will vote for. I truly believe that having Tony Abbott as our country's leader is dangerous. I want a leader who respects the rights of people of every gender, religion, ethnicity, sexuality and age.

But don't listen to my words, listen to his

Remember, vote early and vote often!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

We interrupt this broadcast...

As I've written lately, I'm feeling a bit ho hum. A bit flat. The fire in the belly is just a puff of smoke. I'm struggling to get excited about anything much at the moment.

I've been trying to 'fake it to make it' with the blog recently, but I think it's really starting to show. It's a pretty dull day in my life.

So, last night I decided to take a conscious break from blogging. Step away from the keyboard and try and ignite the fire again. It may just be a day, it may be a week, it may be a month. I suspect I will be back sooner rather than later. In any case, I will be back.

You may wonder why I'm even writing this, why not just step away for a while? Well, for me I suspect, actually saying out loud "I'm taking a break" will be the trigger to get the creative juices flowing again. Writing when I feel inspired to, rather than out of habit or routine.

I'll still be lurking. Reading blogs, on twitter, on facebook.

I'll see you again real soon.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Where is that enthusiasm for life?

I'm feeling a bit, well, sigh. Sigh.

The kids are great, not sleeping, but great none the less. The days are busy and full, we always find things to do. They say great things and I really am enjoying the time I'm spending with them each day. I know it's not going to be forever, so I'm soaking it up. As I type this I'm sitting in the sun in my backyard as the girls push their strollers round and round playing some game of their making.

It's great that they play together and can entertain themselves.

Since the job has fallen through (due to lack of childcare) I've been feeling a bit lost. I need something to focus some energy on. Have more to talk about than Disney Princesses, ballet and what your kneecaps are for (all topics on high rotation in our house).

I need a hobby or an interest or something. I just can't remember what I'm interested in any more, as sad as that sounds. I need something to get excited over again.

Hmmmm where I have put my enthusiasm? Perhaps it's under the lounge with all the rest of my junk.

Help me out here... what inspires you? What gets you excited? How do you keep your mind from seizing up?

Point & shoot: Friday friends

Happy Monday to all! Well, the weekend was a resounding success. The beef bourguignon was delicious and not only served as dinner, but lunch on Saturday and then turned into a pithivier (fancy round pie) served with carmalised onions and mash potato on Sunday. It was really nice to have people over and entertain, we used to do it a lot but haven't in ages. The above pic was us mucking around with the photo booth on my 'puter after dinner. As you can see, we're crazy young things, living life on the edge (not).

Our tea party on Saturday was lots of fun too. The cupcakes went down a treat and it was lovely to catch up with family we hadn't seen in ages. The girls got in performance mode and kept us entertained all afternoon.

Sunday I was feeling a bit grumpy, but we went on a long walk before that freak storm hit, which helped matters. Then a birthday picnic with old friends in the park. All-in-all, a pretty fine weekend! How about you?

Friday, 13 August 2010

The scent of the weekend

At the present moment I can whiff the scent of beef bourguignon bubbling away, which means that the weekend is almost upon us.

We have friends coming over for dinner, so I have decided to finally try out this classic French stew. I really hope it turn out OK, if the smell is anything to go by it should be just fine. I'm not one for being too adventurous when entertaining, in fact it's Skip who usually cooks as he is a far better cook than I. Fingers crossed and I'll let you know how I go.

This weekend the girls and I are having my cousins over for afternoon tea. Skip is hitting the races with some mates, so it will be a girly affair at home. Hopefully it's sunny so we can sit outside and nibble on these cupcakes:

Other than that we have a pretty quiet time planned. Coffee, yummy food, papers and  some sleeeeeep. 

What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Bloomin' lovely

My little blossoms adore flowers. We buy bunches each week to fill the house. The stop and smell any blooms they come across. Lil-lil is especially intrigued, which is quite apt given her floral first names, she always asks what each flower's name is.

I have a black thumb, so there's not too many things blooming in our garden. A few months ago, I decided to get the kids out in the dirt and plant some bulbs in a neglected garden bed. I didn't have much hope for them, but the girls loved planting and then watching as the green shoots slowly sprouted. Yesterday there was much excited as one lone daffodil showed its face.

A plant I haven't killed, please ignore the weeds!

Inspired by this horticultural brilliance, we ambled around our neighbourhood checking out what blooms we coulf find

Here's what we unearthed:

Our neighbour's magnificent magnolia.
Delightful daisies, that are picked by the girls daily

The girls' favourite, camelia.

We are currently trying to save our lone daffodil from being picked by Goosey. Let's hope we can save it until at least one more bud unfolds.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Footsteps in the dark

I am oh so tired today. It would seem our house is being inhabited by cheeky little pixies who wander up and down the hallways all night long.

Just as you're deep in a blissful slumber, stubby little fingers poke your face. A pair of little arms and a pair of legs climb in next to you and before long snoring drifts up to your ears. I get up and take them back down the hallway and plonk them in their pixie-sized bed.

Not long after more footsteps are heard and slightly less stubby fingers poke you. The snoring begins and I carry the lankier pixie back to bed.

This continues and repeats all night long. Usually until 5am when the pixies (and I) have decided this musical bed game is losing its appeal and start the day.

Many would ask, why not let sleeping pixies lie. Well, I would if there was enough room in the bed for  two pixies, a snoring Skip and me. But there is definitely not and I usually pull the short straw, contorted into some strange position with sleep far from possible. Then the pixies kick each other and fight in their sleep (yes, this is possible).

I really thought these nocturnal games would be well and truly over by now. It seems the pixies know no bounds to the tricks they can pull after dark.

Fabulous madness

God, I love this show. It really does make me happy. Nothing better than having the couch to myself, Mad Men on the screen and some yummy treats to gobble. Truly, it's bliss.

Season Four starts in Australia tonight, I have IQ primed and ready as I haven't quite caught up yet.

Edited to add: It actually starts tomorrow night... I'm a day ahead of myself this week!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Holiday moments

This morning I braved the rain and took the girls to Wildlife World down at Darling Harbour. We bought one of those unlimited passes for WW and the aquarium recently so this felt like the perfect morning to try it out. You know, an indoor activity that'll be fun and educational. Good for all of us. Yeah right...

As we walked across Pyrmont Bridge in the teaming rain, I thought it may not have been my finest idea. As the kids took more interest in the vending machine than the wildlife, I really began to feel the shine dim on my brilliance.
As they screamed and hid in the corner, terrified at the piped crocodile sounds, I was wishing we'd stayed at home and had a Little Mermaid marathon.

It wasn't really that bad (but not really that good either). My mother-in-law commented: "Wow, you're much nicer to your kids than I was to mine," when I told her where I'd spent the morning so gained a few brownie points there.

The part that made my day though (and this is going to sound awful) is when walking back across Pyrmont Bridge in the pouring rain I saw a family of American tourists. A mum, dad, son and daughter. A family who I imagined had spent years dreaming and planning this holiday. Imagining the wonderful time they were going to have Down Under, a lifetime of memories they were going to create. Here they were on the Pyrmont Bridge, in the cold and rain, screaming at each other. Angry and having the most miserable time imaginable. Apparently dad had got them lost, their feet were aching, they were over it and it was everyone else's fault. Then two of them stormed off in huff one way, the other two went the other. It brought joy to my heart! Seeing them made me feel normal. It reminded me of holidays I'd had, many of them in fact.

There's nothing like a family holiday to bring out the worst in us! It made me feel like I wasn't doing too badly as I dragged the kids screaming and yelling at each other across that rain soaked bridge.

Where would you go?

When life gets a little too much, when it's too busy or stressful, too chaotic and full-on, do you have somewhere you wish you could retreat to? When you just want to pull the blankets up over your head and stay in bed all day, do you wish you had a teleporter that could zap you somewhere peaceful, serene, quiet?

Where would that place be? What would you do with that one precious day away from the world. A day just for you, no one else. A day that when you returned to the real world would have re energised you and ironed out all the stress. A tropical resort? A mountain retreat? A read of a good book in your favourite armchair?

For me, I would go to my Grandma's house in the country. I would wake up to the sound of her and her husband shuffling around in the kitchen, clanging tea cups and cereal bowls. The ABC news in the background behind exclamations of "You silly old fool". I would look around the pink bedroom I always slept in, the rose door handles which were the height of chic to me. I would see the bright blue background of the photo of my late great aunt on the wall.

After breakfast, we'd potter around the garden, feed the fish in the pond, sit in the morning sun and chat as the bees buzzed from flower to flower, with a whiff of rosemary coming from the bush below the clothes line. The cross word would be completed after much pondering and queries called out.

The grandfather clock would strike midday and we'd sit down to lunch (or dinner as they called it). A big hearty meal, baked custard and apples for dessert. Dishes cleared and washed and it was time for a kip. Sleep comes quickly and easily in this house, whether it's the air or the rhythmic tick-tock of the clocks, I'm not sure.

We'd wake and take a dip in the pool. After drying off it's time for afternoon tea and a game of Scrabble or Boggle. A lot of laughter and accusations of cheating ensues and before long it's time to pull the heavy curtains closed and get the tea ready.

Dinner (or tea) of lunch leftovers and then settling back to watch the ABC news and other programs for the evening before retiring for the night. Waking up the next morning in the real world, I would feel like I'd had a month's holiday.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Party people

It seems that I have a couple of little party people on my hands. We had a pretty social weekend and the girls thought it was the best time ever. Socialising, eating, performing, chatting, getting out amongst it – they love it all.

When we told them we had BBQs, lunches and outings on a various friends houses they were busting at the seams. "Can we go now? Please, please, please?"

Once out they're not even a tiny bit shy. They make sure they soak up every moment of the action and are involved in every joke. If they can convince everyone to watch their dancing and singing shows, then all the better. Of course, they never, ever want to go home. They were really tired as there hasn't been a huge amount of sleep going on in this house at present, but once they're out and about they're happy little Vegemites with not a whinge in sight.  I can see their future as a flurry of outings and parties.

This morning is a different story. After a weekend of late nights, early mornings and lots of partying in between they are bushed today. Whingy and tired. Little Goosey didn't even put up a fight going down at lunchtime and Big Lil-lil is happy watching telly and flicking through some books. A cup of tea and some computer time would seem the perfect way to recharge my own batteries, but our neighbours are re-doing their kitchen and there is a drilling and banging on our shared wall that would wake the dead.

Point & shoot: First hair cut

10am, Sunday, August 8, 2010.

My eldest had her very first proper hair cut on Sunday. She's almost 4. I know, I know. Both she and I loved her long wavy locks, those baby curls still at the ends. It was definitely time though. I felt a little sad as I saw those blonde waves hit the hairdresser's floor, but when I saw the grown up girl who walked out the door I started to wonder why I'd waited so long. She adores her new look and is showing it off to anyone and everyone.

Join Point & Shoot over at FatMumSlim.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Famished Friday

I always find that on a Friday I spend most of my day thinking about food. So, I thought I'd start a weekly post about what culinary delight I'm currently obsessing about.

This week....

Chinese BBQ. Sticky pork and duck. Teamed with rice. Does it get any better? Really? Does it? I think not. My two favourite meats cooked to gooey, finger-licking perfection. If you really want to go fancy, I wouldn't say no to Peking Duck, either. Oh, so, good.

Now that's window shopping! My favourite BBQ joint.

What's got your mouth watering?

Image courtesy of

Weaknesses & strengths

Now, I always like to think that I'm a perfect specimen of a women. Juggling the day-to-day of kids, husband, friends and family with ease. Balancing the household budget while balancing the kids on each arm. Well-read and up-to-date on all the important issues. A fabulous social life and able to comment on the latest book/restaurant/exhibition.

A healthy mix of Martha Stewart, Jana Wendt and Cate Blanchett. The truth is, if I'm completely honest, it's more of a mix of Peggy Bundy and Roseanne. Well, not quite, but close anyway. I'm not always the person I'd like to be.

My weaknesses include:

  • I am a touch lazy, if given a choice between chores and the computer (or anything else), well I'm ashamed to say the computer generally wins out.
  • I am completely hopeless with numbers. Seriously. I'll buy something and be halfway home still working out in my head if the change I got was correct. I used to feel much better when I went out to lunch with other sub editors, all highly intelligent people until the bill came and we'd all stare hopelessly at each other as we tried to divide it up. Thankfully Skip is a whiz at mental arithmetic (all those hours working out horse racing odds in his head) so if he's around I stare stupidly at him
  • I'm a terrible gardener. You only need to look at my garden to see that.
  • I have a terrible habit of repeating myself and stories. It's frightfully boring to everyone else, especially if wine is added to the mix.
  • I am shy. So I can often appear stand-offish or a like a deer in headlights. Alternatively, I can ramble on like a complete idiot to make up for the shyness.
  • I'm not a very good present giver, I've always wanted to be that person who gives great gifts.

Now, I never like to dwell on the negatives (cause that could take up waaaay too much time). So here's a list of strengths to weigh things out:

  • I'm patient. I'm calm and I don't get flustered easily. I always think that things will work themselves out and they generally do.
  • I'm optimistic. Again, I always believe that things will work out for the best.
  • I can be funny and fun to be around. Well, at least to myself anyway (if you can't make yourself laugh, well then life is just boring). 
  • I have a wealth of trivia in my head. Can always drag up some piece of useless knowledge out of the recess of my mind. 
  • I'm genuinely interested in other people, what they've done and what they've got to say. I find other people fascinating. My dad always says his favourite memory of me was when I was about five, we'd just returned to Australia after living in States and the West Indies and I was completely fascinated about hearing another kid's recent trip to Port Macquarie, like he was telling me he'd gone to the moon. I never mentioned that I'd just travelled around the world.

What are you strengths and weaknesses?

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The sting of surprise

After 34 years on this planet, marriage, two children, a career where I spoke to a wide and varied group of people, you would think that people's behaviour wouldn't surprise me. It does.

Sometimes, something will happen. Often with someone I know very well. I don't think much of it, but a little while later I feel a sting. "That wasn't right. Why would they do that? Was it on purpose or were they just not thinking? No, that was definitely on purpose." I then spiral into: "What did I do? Have I done something wrong?" This has happened a couple of times in recent weeks with people I don't see that often and has left me a little shaken. Left me thinking these kind of thoughts.

I guess I'm a little naive. I generally think people are good and would never intentionally set out to hurt someone. I've found this to not always be true, which always surprises me. I always try to treat those around me with respect, care and compassion, I'm sure there are times where people may read my actions differently to how I intend them, but I would never intentionally be malicious or mean. My intent to those I love is good.

On the flipside, I will then have someone, who out of nowhere, will do something so kind, so generous, that I'm taken aback. Thoughts turn to: "Goodness, why would they go to so much trouble? Just for me? I'm so lucky.  I only hope that I can be as good a friend to them."

Life is such a mixed bundle, thankfully I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by some truly good people who help balance out the not-so-good. If nothing else, it's all good fodder for that book I plan to write some day!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Holiday tonic

We are home again after an absolutely lovely four days. Four days away together. Four days without the usual distractions of home and life, just to spend with each other. Just enough time for family in jokes to form. Just enough time to feel like you've had a real break. It was a tonic.

I feel so good today, the combination of time away from the hustle and bustle, time spent together as a family, lots of laughter, gorgeous countryside and devonshire tea have worked their magic.

I must admit I didn't have huge hopes for a weekend away. Life has been so chaotic that I hadn't thought too much about and didn't plan too much. I think that worked well as it was relaxing just to go with the flow. It made me realise how much you can get caught up with all the mundane things of life such as keeping up with the washing, the garden, the cleaning instead of focusing on being a family.

It was also magical to find a little spot in the world that felt like heaven. Skip and I travelled around Australia in search of the 'perfect' spot, I think we've finally found it. A spot that's beauty inspires me, that has a mix of rural and coast, good food, somewhere that feels special.

Any way, dreams have been sparked and today the world feels a little brighter. A little break away that was the perfect tonic.
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