Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I must confess that I like the business of numbering posts. I know it's minimal effort, but it's more satisfying than an unsatisfying title. I always feel I need to be clever, witty or preferably both. Having said that, perhaps there is more pressure on the words within each post if the title is only a number ...

Thank you all for you posts on the giveaway. We chose a shaking device I feel is probably quite apt for this time of year and the winner is .... Bianca!

"Merry Christmas! The girls' gingerbread house is sweet. Mine had freckles for roof tiles too! Not sure what that says about my decorating skills....Congrats on your almost 500th post!Kate is divine, and I think she could be very happy here ;) " Drop me an email Bianca and I'll happily parcel Kate up and send her on her way to you.

We had a lovely seasonal dinner tonight. Homegrown zuchs, sauteed very quickly with garlic, dressed with dill and lemon; a rough version of panzanella - home grown cucumbers, home grown basil, toasted croutons and very ripe tomatoes, although not yet our own. Our tomatoes have just started to blush orange, so hopefully another week and we'll have the first few.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Coffee, fresh orange juice, scrambled eggs and ham, fresh raspberries and cherries, chocolate, chill prawns, Cope Williams champagne, chicken boned, stuffed with macadamia and herbs, pumpkin and feta salad, Curly Flat chardonnay, roasted potatoes, spinach and beetroot salad, mascarpone and berry tart, coffee.

Don't forget to enter the "24th" day giveaway. Extended until the 29th as we're still away!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I'm now feeling relaxed. The house is clean(ish), Geoff's done his last minute shopping and the champagne is in the fridge chilling for tonight and tomorrow and the day after that!
The girls have decorated the gingerbread house you see here. Clearly the priority for them is cramming on as many sweets as possible. I find that my own aesthetic still tries to guide their creativity at times when they are piling everything on willy nilly. I keep my lips closed though, because it's not about me.
We popped corn to string for the tree. To my northern "friends" I don't know how you manage to do a whole tree. We (read me) threaded about 2 metres worth and it's hard work, the girls lost interest very quickly as theirs kept breaking. I love the look though. When we eventually have a northern Christmas I want strands of popcorn and strands of fresh cranberries on a real tree, nothing more.

I noticed today that this is my 492nd post. I can't even remember when I started, although as it was in Leila's first year I guess it's been over 2 years. 500 posts is a landmark but I'm almost sure I'll forget it when the post comes around. So, thank you all for reading, for your kind and generous comments and encouragement; also to all of you whose posts I look for each day, whose creativity inspires me - thank you.

I haven't been making many dolls of late so poor little Kate above has been waiting so long for company that I feel it's only fair I offer her to one of you, as a belated Christmas gift. I intend to get into the swing of sewing again next year (after a machine service) and put some more time into the dolls.

If you, or some little person you know, would like to give Kate a home, please leave a comment and I will draw a name when we're back from my parents by the evening on the 28th. I will send worldwide, so anyone can enter.

postscript - I'll be back tomorrow - the 29th - so the draw is extended for another day!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Darned hot here today. Not sure what temperature it reached, but it was the sort of hot where just standing out in the sun you felt your skin sizzling.

Lena, if you're reading, I'd been worrying it wouldn't be summery enough for you when you got here, but I no longer think that's going to be the case. You may even be wishing yourself into that Danish winter by the time the trip's over! It's only days until you're here - can't wait!

Monday, December 21, 2009


We sat on the verandah this afternoon and painted, Ella and I, "two artists" together, she said.


I tried to get a decent self portrait today. I spent 3+ hours at the hairdressers which led to a disgruntled husband who was waiting to get into the office. What can you do when contained in a chair with colour and scissors upon you, there's not much to do but wait it out. The end result is pleasing, despite the unhappy man in the house, so I thought I'd record it to share. Erin makes it look effortless - the self portrait - but I have nowhere near her skills.

As I was trying, unsuccessfully, to take a photo of my new do, I realised that one of the few areas of my home (perhaps the only one) which is consistently neat and nice to look at, is my hall, which is where I was snapping myself. I could never do cornerS of my home as Ella and others have done, but I do have this one corner to share with you. I'm not sure what it says about me, but I do love a light house (which we have) and I also love my photos and flowers - so perhaps it is a reflection of my taste.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


There were fingers up noses in some, hands covering the faces of others in others, closed eyes,
double chins, then a few gems mixed in.

Today it feels like holidays are starting. We all had breakfast together and the tone, the mood of the house has altered ever so slightly. Tidying up was put off until tomorrow, Geoff actually took the papers to the front verandah and read to me from an article while the girls played in the yard. I took out this to cut while I listened to him and the girls. I think the girls know Dad's going to be around too, there's just a slight shift, but it's a good one, I hope it last at least, oh, 3 weeks!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Today we had a few of the families of Ella's closest friends from school over for an "end of year" drinks party. There were 4 families and bar one elder child, they were all girls. There was Hannah Montana dancing in the bedroom, lots of squealing and the occasional flurry of tears.

We, of course (in my book at least) had champagne, plus the other usual suspects, lots of tit bits and the obligatory sweet, in this case, mini chocolate, orange and vanilla cupcakes. They were a hit, as was the afternoon overall. It's been a wonderful year, let's hope they're all this good!

Friday, December 18, 2009


It's the last day of school today, the final day of her first year at school, it's so amazing that this small part of the journey is already over. I must confess to having been unexpectedly teary for the last week, every little thing that comes home from school has triggered a little flurry. It just seems that time is moving so fast, last year we were wary because of all the unknowns about school, now it's just that Ella is growing up so fast.

We've had a wonderful teacher, great classmates with families we respect and whose company we enjoy and most importantly I think, Ella has been so enthusiastic about learning and her journey at school. We are happy that she is with her dear friends next year, but her teacher is unknown so we're hopeful she will be as encouraging and inspiring as Miss F has been.

We're off to school shortly, for a breakup party in the park. Leila has been helping decorate the gingerbread we'll take to share, concentrating so hard on covering every single millimetre in sweet stickiness. From 1:30pm today we're officially on holiday - HOORAY!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I know this is a bit of a cop out, posting a photo not my own in a Christmas month daily posting exercise, however. It's a working day, it's very wet, the girls are OVERtired and well, well, it is what it is.

For those of you who, like me, have enthusiastically consumed this series of books, you may be interested to know that the Swedish films made of this books, well, they're every bit as good as the books. "Men who hate Women" is great, apparently the second one (which we have ready to watch) is even better.

The woman in the picture is Salander from the books and although not as petite as I'd imagined her, she's amazing - it's amazing. Thank god the Swedes got to them before Hollywood did.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


All year Ella has been wanting to take flowers for her teacher. A birthday she missed, a new house that she'd bought, just because. Today at work I realised we only had a few days left when Ella could give them to her as her teacher. So we did. We also have the gift Ella's made and another that we've bought her as a family, they'll go to school tomorrow.

Today though, a gift came home for me, from Miss F. I did literacy each week in Ella's class in terms 1-3, something I really enjoyed and I know Ella did too. It gave me such a deep appreciation for all that one teacher is expected to achieve with a group of 20 children, all with differing personalities, abilities and enthusiasms. So, Miss F sent home a gift for me to thank me for the help I'd given her. The unexpected thoughtfulness is often the most pleasurable.
On that same note, Tamara dropped off a few fabric samples for me today, of fabrics I'd mentioned to her that I liked a lot, from here. Thank you so much, they are gorgeous and again, so unexpected, yet so delightful!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Things were back to normal here this morning! A big mug of cafe latte, homemade spelt rolls with lashings of real butter, topped with morello cherry jam.

Monday, December 14, 2009


What's wrong with this picture? It's now just before 5:00pm and I haven't had a single cup of coffee all day. I don't know how I let things get so bad, it's simply unacceptable.
Geoff has a package for me and I'll grind and inhale it as soon as he gets home. I think perhaps I am just a little addicted!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


For a while now Ella and I have been discussing what she could give to her prep teacher at the end of the year, as both a Christmas present and thank you gift. In the end we agreed that something Ella made herself, with love, would be the most generous of gifts.

Watercolours to the ready Ella painted this picture for her teacher - a beach scene of a "lovely long sandy beach with the waves gently rolling in". I think Miss F will be pleased.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


We've just got back from dropping the girls at nan and pa's for a sleepover. Geoff and I are out to dinner here with friends tonight, which should be fun.

I have a long list of things I could be doing, but only some of them will be achieved.

1. Reoil the front verandah decking with Danish oil
2. Buy new chairs for the dining room table
3. Finish the woodwork painting in Leila's room and the kitchen
4. Start cutting in the paint in our bedroom
5. Spend a gift voucher from my birthday from here
6. Wrap Christmas presents
7. Buy more Christmas presents
8. Finish sewing a present for my mum
9. Decide if I'm really going to try and make two of these for Christmas (I bought the pattern this morning)
The mincepies are from mum, she bakes them for us every year, at least two dozen. I think perhaps I've made them once, but my mum has great pastry hands, so mine didn't compare.
10. Eat mincepies

Friday, December 11, 2009


Feature film - Disney's Robin Hood

Entree - Freshly popped corn

Main - Steamed dim sims with soba noodles, stir fried sugar snaps and julienne carrots

Dessert - Homemade neopolitan choc tops (minus the choc top!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009


The tree is up. Eddie has chewed a few decorations (I put the cheap ones at the bottom) but so far he hasn't attempted to climb.
Leila is keen on "reorganising" the decorations into groups of her favourites (the snowmen) and her not so favourites (everything else).
Ella is counting down the days and finding the waiting taxing.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


My dream, the one that I think I could actually make a reality, has been the same for a lot of years. I really feel that it is time to start working towards making it a reality. I have a quiet unspoken timeline in my head, but I think perhaps I need to start speaking it out loud, to make myself accountable to myself.

I started to write down the things that I don't want, but they were all about leaving my current job, so instead I'll change it to those things that I do want.

I want to have my own business, a small cafe. I want a cafe because I love to cook and I would like to cook for an audience wider than my family and friends.
I want a small place local to home where everything is fresh that day. I want you to come in to smells of cakes cooking, soup simmering.
Everything will be made on premises, by me. If your children would like a biscuit it won't be jammed with smarties in a flavourless god awful dough and coated in icing. I will have made biscuits fresh for yours as if they were for mine.
There will be wonderful music on and gorgeous fresh flowers.
There will be a generosity that pervades all aspects of my little corner.
I don't want it to make me rich, this business of mine, just a quiet achiever, something modest I know would make me so proud.
I want to have my girls come after school and help until I close. They could wait tables for an hour, or just sit and do their homework having some afternoon tea.
I'm going to buy a journal, a new one to start a business plan properly, rather than the scraps of paper I now keep. I'm going to aim for the year Leila starts school, 2012 - it sounds a long way off and definitely achievable, perhaps even sooner.
I haven't done this before, if you have, give me your tips, tell me where to start. For now all I have is the dream.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


We're getting tired over here. The end of the year is rapidly approaching and all our little family are ready for a break from the routine. We've had discussions about what being a family means, how we can all help each other to get through our days with as little aggravation as possible. I do my best to remain patient, calm and understanding, but I don't always succeed. I have been reading Krista's blog again of late, wishing I had the inner strength she appears to, for I just can't always control my frustrations and it's not always pretty.

So with that in mind the weather is matching my mood today. The heavens have opened up and not let up for a moment. I've had my cardigan in the drier for two school and one train station run today, add to that my gym gear for that trip too/

In the midst all the heightened emotion around here, I received something that lifted my spirits and brightened my day no end. A dear reader, Helen, responded to this post of mine some time ago and shared some very reassuring thoughts with me. Today a package arrived from her with some beautifully wrapped parcels within. The book she thought would help me in my parental travels, together with little parcels for each of my girls and a wonderful little girl for us all to share. It made me feel understood, supported and embraced, by someone I've never met. I was telling my mum about it, the absolute kindness of strangers in this blog world and I likened it to my sense of old fashioned community. Taking the time to listen to others, to share your experiences and to support them when you feel you can, sharing extra things you have too much of or no longer need, it's truly remarkable. So Helen, thank you for your kindness and I look forward to reciprocating as and when, in kind.

Monday, December 07, 2009


My lunch today. Coleslaw with carrot, fennel and cabbage and lots of dill; chickpea salad with lots of garlic, cumin, tomato and parsley, topped with a homemade/pickled cucumber! They are very good, the cucumbers, you really should try!

Sunday, December 06, 2009


In Melbourne, at this time of the year, there is a little bid of madness Yarraside. Today we were a part of that madness. The last time I was there was 3 years ago, heavily pregnant with Leila, my mum and I took Ella. Today Ella declared herself too grown up, but grooved more than the little one, who was slightly overwhelmed but completely engrossed.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


From a beach in Port Willunga, SA. It wasn't a National Park, but I still felt perhaps I was breaking some written or unwritten rule. These stones are incredibly smooth and just sit so perfectly in the palm of your hand.

Have you seen the movie Something's Gotta Give? Somewhat fluffy but I loved that film. I adored her beach house and also her jars of white stones. I guess I borrowed the idea from there.

Friday, December 04, 2009


The little nest our smallest one left in our newly made bed.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


I love gardenias, the way their petals gracefully curl and unfold. I love their strong, rich perfume.

I wanted gardenias in my wedding flowers and on the tables, but my mum thought their perfume would be too strong, so I relented and now regret. She doesn't love them as I do.

This bowl will live beside my bed and continue to perfume my bedroom even once their flowers have turned brown.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I have a small collection of Father Christmas' from different places. This little fella is from Oslo in Norway. There was a shop full of them, but for some reason I only bought the one. I know he's actually quite gnarly but something about his smile lets me know there's a definite twinkle in those eyes.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


A post a day for me in December, day 1.

Refrigerator pickles. I love cucumbers. We have a lot in the garden this year and they are spreading enthusiastically. I love pickled goods, especially cucumbers, and particularly when dill is added to the mix.

I haven't tried this before, but it's been on my list for a while. Lebanese cucumbers super fresh and so crunchy. 4 cups of water to 3/4 cup of white wine vinegar. Stir in 4 tbs of salt (preferably kosher but whatever you have). Lay fresh dill at the bottom of your jar, squeeze in cukes all snug and tight. Slice garlic to taste and pop on top ( I used 2 cloves), I also added more sprigs of fresh dill, some mustard seeds, peppercorns and fennel seeds. Cover with brine. Top with cling wrap and leave on counter for a couple of days to sour then seal with lid and transfer to fridge. Eat often!

See you around day 5 with feedback.
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