Sunday, January 30, 2011


We had the most wonderful weekend away and I swear to goodness that we're going to do it once a month. Stuff the cleaning, the tidying, the things that we feel we should be doing, we're going to just be together in a new and task free place and enjoy this wonderful life.

We stayed in Barwon Heads, paddled in the river mouth, watched a wedding on the beach, ate at Annies Provedor and watched the sun set at the back beach. We had breakfast at the Bean Pod and then spent a few hours at the Ocean Grove surf beach. We stopped in at Queenscliff on the way back, ate fish and chips in the park and giggled loudly on a crazy swing. What more can you possibly want?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Two books I've read recently, worlds apart.

The first is the second book that I've read by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She is undoubtedly an amazing woman and hearing her interviewed was the reason I sought out her autobiographical work Infidel. I had thought Nomad would talk more on her life since the closure of her last book, but it does not.

I'm honestly not sure what I think about this book, it's both disturbing and alienating, focussing on prejudices and fear and I found it hard to read. It is really an analytical book discussing Hirsi's thoughts on Islaam and what it is to be a Muslim, two things she thinks of as very different. It was interesting, but I found its tone disturbing.

The second book, Amacord by Marcella Hazan, could not have been more different. For me this book was as enjoyable as one I read last year about Alice Waters. If you know not of Marcella Hazan but love Italian food and culture, then perhaps this is a good place to start your education. She is a home taught Italian cook who made a life in both the US and Italy, ran a cooking school for many years from very humble beginnings and went on to pen many cookbooks, quite Classical, two of which I've referred to often.

I enjoy reading about people I've admired, albeit from afar, particularly those who share passions similar to my own. She has lived a very full and interesting life. She has always appeared to have taken challenges head on, had a wonderful husband who supported and shared her dreams. A gentle, unchallenging but completely fulfilling read.


We started at Sky High. I have to say, I haven't been here since I was Ella's age and it's improved vastly since then. We were Amazed, which was surprisingly good fun. We had a picnic lunch and then headed into Sassafras and a hike down along the creek. Back to Ripe for coffee and banana teacake and home again.

A wonderful day with my very best guys. Happy Australia Day one and all.


There are a few expressions that I use on a regular basis in my home, with the girls.

That's enough squabbling. Is a popular one

Is that a nice way to ask? Is another.

I realised yesterday that there's one that I say a lot in various forms when baking, be it bread or cakes, which we do a lot. It's a long expression and it goes something like this Now you know that I don't mind you licking the spoon/knife/bowl but I've said before, we don't lick until we've finished otherwise it's like you're licking my piece of cake.
Of course I don't really mind when it's my piece that's being licked, which it most often is, but you know we parents are here to set an example, albeit a shaky one!

Hazelnut cake recipe from here.

Monday, January 24, 2011


My list of 2010 books. It looks quite sparse now I see them all grouped together. I'll try to read more and more widely this year.

Alice Waters and Chez Panisse by Thomas McNamee
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Freedom by Jonathan Franzel
Gifts from the Sea
Infidel my Life by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Julie & Julia - My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell
Lilla's Feast by Frances Osborne
Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham
Push by Sapphire
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The Gourmet by Muriel Barbery
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Secret Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller


We're counting the days, not to wish them over, but because there seem to be so few of them left. Take out working days and there are nowhere near enough.

Today we're taking things slow. We've picked basil and zuchinnis from the garden. We've made pesto. A hazelnut cake from this book is in the oven. Leila's made a collage picture of Red Riding Hood and the wolf; Ella's made a collage of the gingerbread house. We've read a letter from a dear friend in Darwin and a reply is in the making.

I've made a very big and conscious decision to try and slow down this year. It was partly imposed upon me by a younger daughter who simply does not thrive in stressful situations - but then who does? It has come as a somewhat shameful surprise to me, purely because I feel I should have known, just how much me altering my attitude has made life easier for my youngest one.

A dear reader called Helen has been a big support and honestly did set me on the right path in terms of looking at things in a new way. We're repeating 3 year old kinder this year. I'm not 100% right that it's the completely right choice although I can't really tell you why I feel that way. Perhaps it's because it's an anxiety issue and I worry that whatever situation it will still be hard. However, time and maturity alone may help with that. I'm hopeful that this year will be easier and perhaps even joyful. I'm going in with that mindset and hope it rubs off.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Today we went to the beach for the first time this summer, appalling isn't it. Bayside beaches, such as this one, take us a good 45-50 minutes to get to and it's such a drag of a drive. We really should have gone to the peninsula, but by the time we'd decided it was already lunchtime.

We always say we should go more often, the girls adore it. Neither of us were brought up as beach lovers, at least not in our home lives. Geoff's dad was raised in Byron Bay, his mum in Queensland, so they went to one or the other for most family holidays. I went to bayside beaches to walk our dog.

Geoff's much more confident than me in the ocean. I love quiet almost still ocean waters to swim in, although I love watching them crash in wildly, even if I don't want to put my body in harm's way. I choose not to call it fear but more a healthy respect for all it can do and my own limitiations in terms of saving myself or indeed anyone else.

I can understand the appeal of living next to the beach, there's something revitalising about it. On holidays most dream of the perfect ocean view so we can sit and waste away hours just enjoying it's majesty.

School hasn't gone back yet, so the hot weather hasn't even begun. We've got plenty of summer left to visit again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


This is Professor Paws. He spends half his time on this window sill miawing at the birds outside, the other half he spends asleep on Ella's bed.

Professor Paws belongs to Olive and Archie, who have been Ella's dear friends for the past 4 years. They've become closer of late, Ella, Olive and Archie that is (Mr Paws just moved here) and soon their cousins, Polly and Harry, will be moving into Leila's room.

If you're unfamiliar with these Wee Wonderfuls, you really should check them out.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I always think if I could just take pictures of myself, then I'd look great! So anyway, I thought I looked really nice but as we couldn't catch it successfully on film, I've just included the dress. I ended up leaving it grey, it washed up nicely and at mum's suggestion I used some spray starch. Now I'm not a big ironer by any means and actually avoid it as much as I can, but I loved this spray - it makes ironing easier and it smells good.
We had a lovely night although getting into bed at 3am is just too much for us these days. I honestly can't understand where the time went, and when we were eating suckling pig at the Supper Inn at 1:30, I did think it was a little late!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I realise how fast time flies when I finally get around to finishing a project that was dreamt up I think nearly two years ago!

I saw this dress on etsylong ago but procrastinated about it for ages because it was shorter than I normally wear. Of course by time I decided I REALLY wanted it, it was sold with no more forthcoming.

So, I mentioned this and Leonie from Raglan Guld (whose site I can no longer seem to find) kindly sent me some homespun she didn't need anymore. Fast forward almost two years and we have an engagement party at a rather swish bar in the city this weekend and it says "dress for a party". I'm sorry to admit that clearly I don't party enough anymore that this sent me into a wardrobe tailspin. So, I finally gave this copy dress a whirl. I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out, although I won't model it just yet. I have a little more beading to do but the one thing I'm unsure of is the colour. I didn't give it a lot of thought before I started sewing (as is my want) because I thought I'd just give it a try. Now it looks quite nice I"m just not sure that this grey does much for me.
I bought some dye today, in a soft slate blue, not unlike the original dress, and have test dyed a swatch, it looks good. I can't decide whether to go for it though. One daughter says it's lovely as it is, the other says dye it. What to do?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Can you tell I was quite taken with the heritage apples and pears in the orchard? I wandered around wondering if another possible career change wouldn't be to become an orchardist in a National Trust property. I wonder if the opportunities, however, may be a little restrictive?


We were here today, with Nan and Pa. A picnic lunch with us there was the girls' Christmas present to them. The weather was very hair curlingly damp, rain wasn't too heavy but ever present. Despite all that the girls were completely enthralled and they are hoping to go again, preferably tomorrow!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Leila babe had her party in the park today and it was a great success.

The weather didn't initially appear to be on our side, but we pressed on and sure enough by the time we got to the park we were just left with little spitty showers.

We kept things very low key. We had some morning tea snacks, we had balls of all kinds, hula hoops, a wonderful park and each other's company. For Leila that's enough. She has a lot of trouble with attention focussed on her, so party games aren't necessarily the right way to go. She loves the idea of it, but the reality she struggles with. In the same way organised play, you can see she really wants to join in, but for her making that leap to joining in is most often just too great.

She snoring away on the couch now, so shattered. A success though, I'm so pleased.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


All working weeks, albeit short ones like mine, should end as ours did yesterday. Geoff and the girls collected me in the city after they'd icecreamed at Pellegrinis and shopped at the Hill of Content. We drove promptly to the Abbotsford Convent and got a park right out front. We took in our blanket and had prime position on the grass in front of the bakery.

There were some lovely guys who led the kids in playing Simon Says, What's the Time Mr Wolf and many others.

We ate from an Argentinian bbq and had delicious prawns from a Nepalese stall. We drank beer (just the adults) from Arctic Fox, which was new to us and delicious. We had a great time. The Supper Market is on every Friday night until the end of February. We'll definitely do it again before the warm weather ends.

Monday, January 03, 2011


I know that as a mother I should probably feel too ashamed to show you that I let my youngest out with holes in her leggings, yet strangely I'm not! I find something utterly charming in that little knee poking out and those oh so cute toes in her pretty pink sneakers.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


Our babe celebrates her birthday today and she's oh so proud to be 4.

This gorgeous blondey of ours, who can find things a little more challenging than others, who needs more space, more time, more quiet. A little girl who loves her family so very much.

Today we're all together and the special people in her life will visit for cake. At the last moment she decided that she would like a party, only a small one, so a party she will have. In the park, low key, lots of fuss, but in a very understated non look at her way, as she likes.
Happy Birthday baby.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Happy New Year. An image from each month of 2010. It seems so short, when condensed like this. Thank you all for the pleasure you've shared with me in both your comments to me and your own posts. I hope for more lovely words in 2011.