Friday, January 30, 2009

Lunch on a hot day

I don't feel hungry when it's 43C outside - maybe it's just me, but something about this crappy weather of ours kills my appetite.

As a substitute for real food - into a blender put some cut up fresh pineapple, one frozen banana, some apple juice and a handful of frozen blueberries. Whizz until smooth and then use all your might to suck the thick deliciousness through a straw.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

No Heirloom Salad yet

This year I am growing 6 different types of tomatoes and had envisaged a gorgeous tomato salad, with different colours, shapes and sizes. My plants are full of fruit, but they're not very big and are slow to colour. I know I shouldn't complain, green fingered friends all over say it's a bad year for tomatoes. My mother has kept friends and family in tomatoes from November through to March, always, this year she has one plant - nothing took off (she grows from seed), the garden looks very barren.

So whilst I do not have my heirloom salad on a plate tonight, I am pleased with what we gathered this afternoon. The top photo could be deceiving, so a child of 2 year old proportions is below so it can be seen that I'm not bragging.

Bunkering Down

We've done play dough; we've made glittery, sticky pictures; we were out in the garden first things; we've had two episodes of Dora; we've made fruit smoothies and turned some into icy poles; we've cut out a tiny teddy to make a la Two Straight Lines and then there was the concert shown above. That's what we've done in the first half an an indoor 40C day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

7 Days to go

This time next week our big girl will have finished her first day of school. I can't believe it. Where has the time gone, how is she big enough to be leaving my side for the majority of every single week day? I'll cope I know, I have to, she's excited and thrilled at the prospect of all school means. Not sure about the little one though. When big sister is away from the house she constantly asks "where ella go mum?" and when Ella is so exhausted from a late night that she has a nap, the little one crawls into bed with her and says "wakey wakey eggs and bakey". One thing's for sure, I know that I won't be the only one eagerly awaiting 3:30 each day.

Australiana 4

Melbourne is heading into what is forecast to be the hottest summer week in 100 years. No surprise really, school starts next week and all locals know that heralds the onset of the truly uncomfortable weather.

Australia Day is being celebrated with summer sangria and dinner outside. Ella even knows the second verse to Advance Australia Fair - shamefully I didn't even know there was one. To all those near and far - Happy Australia Day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Australiana 3

This is completely representative of the Australian summers I have known. Cones with sprinkles, or 100's and 1000's. Is it an Australiana image - or do you also spend summer consuming such treats?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


On our first visit to NYC I ate too many lemon babkas from Zabars. When I think of bundts I also think of babkas and the Seinfeld episode where they fought over the chocolate one. Now they looked like bundts but Jerry and Elaine called them babkas (unless I recall incorrectly) which I thought were something completely different ....
I bought a bundt/babka tin after our visit and used it only once in London but the cake stuck to the tin horrendously despite using some sort of toxic spray to try and lubricate the tin. Today I dug it out, slathered it in melted butter and flour and voila, a chocolate bundt/babka. Of course you can't see the gorgeous patterns, I'll work on a glazed version next time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sleeping fruit

"Baby 'matoes sleeping mumma."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Polly Esther Cotton

She's an actual person and she lives in Melbourne. On RRR some time last year, one of their call ins was looking for Melbourne people with unusual names. A couple of people called in saying they one knew Polly Esther Cotton, and eventually she called in to the station.

I only like wearing cotton to bed, or silk, but I find it hard to find like items for the girls, so we made our own. We're now waiting for warm nights.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Confidence is a preference

for the habitual voyeur of what is known as Parklife
And morning soup can be avoided if you take a route straight through what is known as Parklife
John's got brewers droop he gets intimidated by the dirty pigeons - they love a bit of it Parklife
Who's that gut lord marching... you should cut down on your porklife mate... get some exercise

Lyrics from Parklife by Blur

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not so little anymore

Our countdown to start of school is down to 21 days. It's not about me or how I'm feeling, it's about Ella and she's so excited and so very enthusiastic. Mum may not be fine, but she will be brave and happy that our babe is happy. Really though - only 21 days..?!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Random photos of happiness

Random thoughts of happiness

I won't make a secret of the fact that Geoff and I find it hard to get our life balance right. He works hard and long and two children are demanding. I am sure that more children are even more demanding, but that's why we've acknowledged that two is our limit. We struggle to get it right at times, but we talk about it and acknowledge that we're not getting right and that it's important to keep trying.

Some times, for no apparent reason, everything just falls into place and this weekend was one of those times. We didn't do anything that spectacular but things just seemed to work.

Saturday I took Ella and a friend (of hers) to see HSM3 and then to McD's for lunch. At the same time Geoff was taking Leila for a bike ride and to a cafe for morning tea. In the afternoon we pottered and then Geoff made a spanking dinner of ribs with homemade bbq sauce and copious Coronas with lemon.

Today we actually spent almost 4 hours at the inlaws' house trying to get their garden into order. They moved into a new, smaller place about 4 months ago and have struggled to make it their own. Today Geoff and I tackled the front yard, weeded, pruned, removed lots of plants and left with it looking so much better.

Tonight, family dinner night, noodles. We all showered late after our gardening exertions, put on clean clothes and had dinner alfresco. Dinner was lovely with music and dancing afterwards. We played some newer faves (Feist, Dan in Real Life soundtrack and some of Geoff's more esoteric sounds) and then dragged out some older cds. The the girls insisted they be dancing songs - Angel in Harlem was one, the new Coldplay song whose title I don't even know but which makes me remember our trips to Scotland, REM - Night Swimming and Electrolite. We danced, we played the drums with our chopsticks, we ran around, we laughed and I felt so happy.

I'm not looking for the huge moments. I can't put a finger on what made this weekend work so well, but it made me happy and that's all I'm looking for, happiness and togetherness. If I start seeing a therapist and she/he says "remember a time when you were happy" then I'll hone straight in to this weekend.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Meet Phoebe

She's my newest girl and is looking for a home.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


eating is so wonderful.

I've mentioned before how our backyard was when we moved in - a concrete carpark. When we sit out there now and it's green in every direction, it makes me realise we haven't been idle the whole time we've been homeowners.
I do love homemade pizza, but my fantasy is to have an outdoor pizza oven. My eldest brother recently built one on his property in the North East and I'm now encouraging my parents that they should have one too. So far I've managed to spur them on to planting two new grapevines and Dad is going to build a pergola in the same area for them when the weather cools a little. I've got to work a little harder on the oven front. Unfortunately our yard is really too small at the back to accommodate one, so for now we'll have to continue to make do with the gas fired variety, which still taste pretty good to us.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


We used our Gold Class tickets to go and see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button today. I've always been good value at the cinema (big laughs and easy to cry) but today was a record for me. Geoff commented that he didn't think he'd ever seen me cry so consistently at the movies ever before, and that's in the last 13 years.

I think I cried from about 5 minutes in and then every 5 minutes until the end. I loved the film, but feel very melancholy now. So many things I should say and so many questions that are unanswered. It was a huge love story but one I couldn't understand. A love so great, you could never walk away from, or let someone walk away from it. The parent/child relationship really hurt. There are so many things of my own mother's life that I don't know the answers to. She had a whole, complete, complicated story before my father even came along. I didn't know that life had even existed until I was 15 and even now, almost 25 years later, facts have only been alluded to. Some things I think my mum and dad want to share with me, but don't know how, others I would have to ask about and I don't know if it's my place to.

My father in law has the onset of Parkinson's disease and is suffering with it, mentally as much as physically. He feels the loss of his capacity and worries for what follows and yet is not optimistic about the possibilities of there still being something, that there still thigns to look forward to. What do you say to a 73 year old who faces these challenges - it makes me feel so sad, as if the end is there, looming large, what can you say to that?

So, I'm feeling, not sorry for myself, but melancholy. I'm aware of the time that has passed and that less is in front for some of those I love.

Tonight I told my daughters that there wasn't anything they couldn't ask me (they're 2 and 5). Should there come a day when I'm not around and they wonder something about me, that they shouln't have to wonder about the answer, but that they'd know because I didn't keep secrets from them. I told Ella that I'd had 12 boyfriends before daddy ..... I told her that I had once tried smoking but luckily didn't like it (don't tell nanny and pa) ..... and I also told her that I didn't always feel that I was a very good mummy or wife, that I was too impatient and that made me feel angry with myself (she told me that simply wasn't true). I don't want them to have questions about me. Of all the people in my life, they are the two who I always want to be most honest with.

It is a wonderful movie, you should see it, and Gold Class is great.

Friday, January 02, 2009


The animal Leila wanted to see most at the zoo, was a baby duck! What do you know though, we managed to find some baby coots - so she was thrilled. Butterflies were rated most popular after the ducks, closely followed by the Penguins.

I was so thrilled with Leila's cake - it's so simple but I think it turned out really well. One day when I finally manage to get my own little corner cafe up and running, I'd love to do a sideline in children's cakes, they're so much fun to make and it's really not hard to make things that the children are so thrilled with - and they taste good! (PS Sandy - another time I used the icing kit! I use that over my more professional piping bags now!)

A ride on the carousel before leaving. I so wanted to sit on a horse, but with Leila being under a certain height she had to ride an elephant with an adult escort. Next time I'll choose the green horse...

Day 731

That was then and this is now.

You are our monkey, that's for sure, but you're also our neat one with lovely manners who thanks mummy for dinner each night and puts mum's coffee cup back on the sink. We meet some little ones who don't say much, but you speak in sentences now so we have a third chatty bird in the family.

You're going through a real mum stage nd I can't walk more than a foot away without your little face crumpling as if I'm going to leave you forever. I know it's only a phase, but it can feel too much at times, although today I am all too aware that before long you'll be running off without a backwards glance. There are no more babes to come for our little family, so we must make the most of these days.

It's a big year for us Leila, with Ella off to school next month we will have so much more time together, just the two of us. I know we'll both miss big sister terribly, but I'm excited about having more time with you, my baby.

Happy Birthday gorgeous one.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

We ate, we drank

we were merry and were also home and in bed asleep before midnight. What absolute lightweights. I did consume a whole bottle of champagne on my own though, and I feel fine today, so that's quite an achievement!

An early dinner with good friends we don't get to see anywhere near as much as we'd like - perhaps the new year will see that situation corrected.
For this new year I wish for myself and mine, health, happiness, optimism, dreams achieved, milestones reached, balance for all of us as individuals and within our family. I wish the same for you and yours.