Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Some months ago a friend lent me a book. I hadn't heard of it before, knew of the writer only because of other events in her life, not for her work as an author. I'm so grateful, however, that someone who hasn't known me so long, read this book and thought of me when they did so.

I cannot recommend it to you highly enough, to the women who are reading, for although it applies to us all it really is a book by a woman about and for other women. It's also a timeless book, written in 1955 and yet so absolutely contemporary.

I am not at all religious, but I believe greatly in the power of the heart and of the individual will. Writing those words it sounds a little, I don't know, a little worthy, but having read this book (twice), I will return the one I have, but have also ordered my own copy, for this is a book I will refer to for many years to come and give to my daughters also.

This book is about life and love, relationships with family, partners, friends and children. It's about balancing life and how torn we are (and also were in the 1950's it seems), how we're constantly struggling to get it right. It's about how to maintain a healthy spirit. It's not preachy and it's not a self help book. It is, however, wonderful.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


It's deliciously cold here at the moment, just under 10C. It's not cold by nothern standards I know, but still crunchy, crispy cold.

I prefer to live cold weather, I find it much more romantic. Candlelight, red wine, cuddling on the couch, snuggling to get warm. I like to be on holiday in hot weather, to relax in hot weather, but I prefer day to day in cold weather.

I've lived in cold places and have very fond memories of those times.

The first time I went to the Banff Hot Springs it was early January and very cold. You change inside and then head through a heat controlled vestibule where you start stepping into the hot water so you're immersed before you're actually outside. Once outside it was night time, and snowing. Within minutes my hair had frozen.

At the same time that I visited Banff I was living here working for not much at all, but very very happy. Few of us had cars so when we needed to get to Canmore (the nearest town) for shopping, we would have to walk to the nearest road out of the park and wait to hitch a ride. In the middle of winter we could only stay out for 15 minutes and had to keep on the move, it was that cold. I remember the sensation of the cold really leaching through my big boots and all the layers of socks, thermals and tights until they started to ache.

In the UK, not long before we left when I was pregnant with Ella, we went for a bank holiday weekend to Northumberland. I guess it must have been in January again - my god it was cold. There are photos from that time where we're walking around Lindisfarne and you can't even see my face, I was so wrapped up. The beach lost romance on that trip, it was beyond cold!

I also remember a wine flushed face in Chamonix after skidooing up a mountainside in the dark unable to see that we were about to fall off the side of a mountain and sledding down extremely drunk with head lights on that served no purpose, racing to win a challenge and nearly choking I was laughing so hard. By the end I couldn't feel my hands as I'd lost my gloves along the way.

Geoff and I hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains, being able to smell the jamon of Trevelez miles before we reached it. Warming up inside a cafe with a bocadillo con chorizo and strong hot coffee.

I love the cold weather and I love everything it makes me remember.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Well we aren't new homeowners and we're completely okay with that. We weren't emotional about it because in the end neither of us felt we were prepared to pay what it would go for and we were right. It went for $30,000 more than we'd set as our limit.

I feel good, I feel recharged somehow. I love our home, always have. It's small and won't accommodate our little family moving forward, but that's its only shortcoming. If only we had another 100m2 we'd have enough space, but we don't. So, we're going to focus on finishing off everything around here that we've put off, not super exciting but things that will make SUCH a difference like new carpets, new BIR's and BIshelving in the lounge. We may also do our back yard and make it into a more native and organic outdoor space. We may also find a way to squeeze in a trampoline and a water feature - the girls most loved features from the house that wasn't meant to be!

So, we feel good about it and not disappointed, which I'm so happy about.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Ella saw Amelia's drawing of Claire and wanted to do the same. So here I am.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Happy Birthday Pa Pa.


Last night we took the girls to the Winter Solstice party at the Collingwood Childrens Farm. It wasn't an overall success.

The place was absolutely rammed, take a normal market Saturday and multiply by 5! Parking was a nightmare, we were meeting friends there and in the end didn't even find each other. The queues for food and drink were crazy and they ran out before we reached the front.

I'm sounding miserable I know, but when you get organised with the kids and it doesn't work out, so frustrating. The bonfire was amazing though - the highlight by far. Perhaps next year we'll have our own at home and get the cozy feel we were looking for - with a much smaller fire.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Thanks Mercie, for the link to these biscuits. Mine aren't quite as neat as the ones in the recipe, but they never are. I love how they look though and they taste pretty good too!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I'm busily filling cracks, painting, pruning, culling extra clothes and toys, emptying wardrobes, trying to get ready to move quickly if we have to. All those things we have put off doing around the house, it's amazing how much you can get done when there's an incentive. June 26th is the big day, although I'm trying not to be optimistic. We're going to have to fight it out at auction and who knows.

So, I make soup. Tonight we're having white bean soup - a bit of an adaptation of a Giorgio Locatelli recipe.

Soak 400g dried cannellini beans overnight.

Saute 1 finely chopped onion, 2 medium carrots and 2 sticks of celery with 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic until soft but not brown.

Add the drained and rinsed beans to the vegies and cover with 1 litre of stock, in this case homemade chicken.

Add a couple of bay leaves and a couple of sprigs of rosemary.

Simmer until beans are cooked - how long depends on how long you soaked them and how fresh they are.

When all are tender and cooked separate out about 1/3 of the cooked beans.

Blend the remaining 2/3 of beans, vegies and stock until smooth. If you want it super smooth than pass it after through a sieve. Season to taste.

To serve finely chop a garlic clove and on a very low heat more melt than fry it in about 3tbs of olive oil. Add finely chopped rosemary, salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the pureed soup into a bowl, top a portion with the reserved beans, a spoonful of the flavoured oil and some finely chopped parsley.


Sunday, June 13, 2010


Oh my I have an awful lot going on in my head at the moment. I am a thinker, dreamer and worrier all mixed together, that makes for a lot of thinking, particularly when big issues are at hand.

So first, I bake. I've wanted to make challah for the longest time and despite how delicious and decadent the bread is, the method is super easy. Very wet mix, but very responsive and only one one real knead and then forming the braid. I love the smell, the kind you bury your nose in. I used a recipe from here, but ommitted the long proof overnight.

The issue that is taking up all my thinking space, the issue that is making me antsy is this.

I don't want to jinx anything so won't talk out loud, but oh dear, it's awful to want something with no guarantee of it hapenning, kind of like unrequited love. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


A quick little project, once I actually got started. Pa's made a new doll's bed for Leila and I've been holding up the gift giving as I'm responsible for the bedding. This is a small doll's quilt which now just needs the binding. Four panels with appliqued petals and french knotted centres. Quite sweet really.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


One of our winter vegetable plantings is broccolini. The regular broccoli has done so well the last few years and broccolini is soooo expensive, we thought, why not! Last week, while watching Italian Food Safari, I watched as one of the guests picked Cime di Rapa from their garden. Hang on a second, I thought, that looks a heck of a lot like our brocolinni. Over in Healesville my parents, watching the show at the same time, having planted the same "broccolini" seeds, were thinking the same thing!

So tonight we're having orecchiette with cime di rapa and we'll see. I'm still not 100% convinced as none of the posts I found referred to the prickly undersides of the leaves ..... They do taste like a cross between strong rocket and spinach raw, so I'm pretty sure we'll be here tomorrow ....