Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It is the silly season and when you already live life at a less than sensible pace, it can become quite ludicrous. If you're not careful you may become run down and fall ill. Being a night person I tend to stay up late during the week and catch up on sleep on Saturday and Sunday mornings. One weekend in Sydney for my reunion, the next in Melbourne for the twins' baptism and and the next Saturday at work made for a very tired woman with a nasty cough. After work on that third Saturday I filled a drink bottle with water to try and contain the coughing while Jossie, Toby and I went to see Andrew in The Boy From Oz. It was so good! The music was brilliant, the costumes and dancing fabulous and the young, local lad playing Peter Allen did such a good job. Flash photography is not allowed in the theatre and this is the best shot I took while trying to capture our pre-show excitement.

I stayed home from work for two and a half days last week, nobody being impressed with my coughing all over them, and Toby stayed home one day when we suspected whooping cough (he didn't have it!). I could have posted to the blog then, I suppose, but instead, I made cards and read books to convalesce. When lovely Liz found out that I was ill she brought around a care package of card making paraphernalia. Such fun! Here are the first of six cards that I made.

I finished reading The Girl Who Played With Fire, White Tiger by Kylie Chan and The Pleasure Seekers by Tishani Doshi (I highly recommend it - set in India, vibrant, full of life and not depressing). How I wish I could read for a living....

I went back to work on Friday (will I ever stop coughing?) just in time for the book club end of year party. George Negus was in town for a literary dinner and The Boy From Oz was still on so we had reduced numbers. This suited us very well as there could be 420 people if everyone in a book club came! We had around 70 people come (only three men) and it was lots of fun and well worth the dramas of running around madly dropping some children at Kids' Club, others at Liz' house and picking them all back up again.

A quiet weekend may have been a good idea but isn't possible at this time of year. I did get a sleep in before making three chocolate Marsala cakes, setting up the church and helping to run our annual Café by Candlelight. We made these tissue paper flower, ball decorations. It took me three goes before I made a decent one but I am now perfectly skilled.

Eighty desserts all ready to go.

We ate dessert, listened to a great talk about the real Jesus and made felt flowers. Jossie was a waitress for the night and really enjoyed the experience.... and the chocolate.

On Sunday afternoon, before the rain came, we walked to the park at the end of our street for the Estella Christmas party. I had a delicious coffee, the kids and Andrew had sausage sandwiches and the kids also had lots of lollies, some from Santa who arrived in a police car. Bethany loved the jumping castle.

It reminded me of when she went on one with Joss last year and was terrified. Click on the photo to best appreciate the expression on her face.

That brings us roughly up to date. Bethany received a merit award for improved listening :) I'm glad she is improving as I get rather tired of repeating myself when she asks a question but doesn't stop talking to hear the answer! The Boy From Oz began on a high and kept it up the whole way through. Now that it is all over we can start to work out the Christmas holidays, though the very thought overwhelms me..... I think I'll go and read a book (I have several on the go - The Red Phoenix, Jasper Jones, The Bell Jar and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Melbourne for the weekend

I'll admit that I'm getting a bit weary now. I have become very used to staying up late and saving up for weekend sleep ins (encouraging news for those with small children - you will get to sleep in before they leave home!). Last weekend I was in Sydney for the reunion and this past weekend was spent in Melbourne so I am running on empty but it was completely worth it!

Andrew had the opening night of The Boy From Oz on Saturday night so he wasn't able to come with us. The kids and I got up bright and early and had a great trip down to Melbourne, arriving in time for lunch. The men very kindly minded the children while the women headed to the shops on Maling Road. The shops were lovely for window shopping. We saw a dress that we'd have loved to buy for Tim and Shona's Pumpkin but it was $250! (we really missed them, especially the new Gumnut.) After that I had no qualms at all about buying some chocolate at Xocolatl. I don't remember all the flavours and they don't have them on the website but the red one is strawberry balsamic, the long one had macadamias and honey, the silver one was creme brulée and the white one was raspberry and lime. Delicious.

And pretty.

We had a fabulous dinner of ribs which the kids enjoyed with gusto and necessitated serious cleaning of faces and fingers.

Poor Phil and Kristin had a rough night when Henry was too excited to sleep and he and Georgiana woke up very early. How can you be angry with these sweet faces?

The early start enabled us to fit in two coffees and all the lunch preparation without stress. We all got dressed in our finery and Henry and Georgiana wore their special baptism outfits. This is Henry smiling out the window at the trees - he has the loveliest nature!

Georgiana's outfit was beautiful and I do apologise for not having more photos of her - it's because I was spending time with my godson on the day of his baptism!

Matching side ponytails. Not matching height despite there being only three weeks between their birth dates!

Henry with his godparents. Wayne is Kristin's brother.

After the ceremony we went back to Phil and Kristin's for a delicious lunch and a piece of this cake - not fruit cake but mud cake with a layer of ganache in the middle. There is a great photo on facebook of Toby's eyes bulging at the sight of it.

It is always great to get the cousins together and Bethany even made some new friends at the lunch. Charlotte has great dress ups.

Jossie held babies all weekend.

Thanks for having us P,K,C,H and G!

We got home around 9.30 pm, probably 10 minutes before Stephen Fry would have finished reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone! Audio books are the best. Andrew's opening night was fabulous and they were given a standing ovation. Jossie, Toby and I are going to be in the audience on Saturday night and can't wait to see it. Now, I need to sort the three loads of washing I did last night.......

Sunday, November 7, 2010


OK, this is a bit embarrassing. I went to Sydney for my 20 year school reunion and have come back with photos of what I ate. Embarrassing but not really surprising I suppose. I changed handbags for the reunion and forgot my camera! I'm hoping photos will turn up on Facebook at some stage but there didn't seem to be a lot of photo taking, which is a shame.

I may have had reservations about going, and many people told me stories of unpleasant reunion experiences, but I am so pleased that I went. I did have a couple of odd conversations with people I didn't know and certainly didn't like while at school (which doesn't narrow it down very much I must admit!) and the speeches were entirely directed at a different group and were not representative of my time at school but I was able to see and catch up with a lot of people I did like at school, some very good friends, whom I haven't seen for many years and for that it was completely worth it. It was nice to remember that I have grown up and am not the irritating, irrational and prickly teenager I was at school. We had to wear name tags, which was very handy, and they had the photos from our yearbook on them. This is mine.

Sad to say, it isn't just a bad photo. I think it was a fair representation of me whilst at school. Jossie and Bethany think it is very funny. It is hard to tell if I look the same as you can't really see my face. Lots of people looked almost exactly the same, my friends and I, for example, haven't aged at all ;), some people had really improved and there were a few people who have passed their peak (Sue said that, not I!). I was very disappointed not to see some people who didn't come but I think I'll make an effort to catch up another time and am definitely planning to see some people before another 20 years goes by.

So, that's the reunion. Now, back to the food. Janice very kindly picked me up from what I like to call the plane station and we drove to Newtown where we stayed with friends of hers. King Street offers all options for dining but we chose, typically, Japanese. Janice's usual choice of Asakusa was closed so we went over the road to Hikaru and it was an excellent substitute. Thankfully Janice likes to share! We had mixed sushi,

gyoza and soft shell crab don. Oh, so very good.

Here is the one photo I took with a person in it. Janice, holding our yearbook which we were studying in the hope of knowing more people. It didn't really help. Nathan drew the cover picture - what talent!

The theory was that we probably wouldn't get much food at the reunion so I thought we should splurge on afternoon tea (what we generally call high tea). Having dithered over the idea I didn't research properly and thought you could just show up at the QVB unannounced. Not so. They had a private function on and told us that Saturdays are booked out four weeks in advance. Janice asked if he could recommend somewhere else and he said "Nowhere does what we do". Very helpful man. So we went to the Lindt Café - not new for me as I go there every time I go to the State Library, but I usually only have coffee and maybe a macaron (I'm totally over them now), so we had cake. We shared the St Moritz, dark, milk and white chocolate mousse with almond cake, and the Wimbledon, mascarpone and vanilla cream, vanilla almond cake and strawberry purée. Both were delicious but we especially like the mascarpone - I must make something with mascarpone soon.

We got home from the reunion just before 1am and were up and ready to go out for breakfast by 8.30. We went to the end of the street to Urban Bites where Janice had eggs benedict with bacon.

I had corn fritters with tomato, spinach and bacon.

Seeing as I had been considering pancakes, I thought we were up for breakfast dessert and we shared this strawberry, rose and watermelon cake at Black Star Pastry.

When you catch the plane from Wagga you need to be at the airport half an hour before the plane leaves. At Sydney they close the baggage check in half an hour before the plane leaves, something I completely forgot about, so I was told off for having only just made it. The flight was pleasant as I am reading I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes by Jaclyn Moriarty. Such whimsy! At Wagga airport a wonderful surprise was waiting, Mim and Bill were driving through Wagga and came to say hello! It was so lovely to see them.

It will be hard to do my 10 hour day at work after such a weekend. I had so much fun hanging out with Janice. I really wish I had bought some chocolate though - I was right near Haighs!

Friday, November 5, 2010

In the news

There's Andrew, in the paper. He's playing keyboard, trumpet and saxophone in the local production of The Boy From Oz. It's very exciting and we can't wait to finally see the show. Opening night is the 13th of November and we (Jossie, Toby and I) are going on the 20th.

Bethany was in the paper yesterday in a regular spot where they ask a particular question to primary school children. What has been the best part of Bethany' first year at school? Going to the computer room because she likes typing things like sentences. I love it!

I think the photo of Bethany is great. I also think Hamish's photo is funny - he is very smug about being good at maths.

We have a new dog again after an episode at the groomer. Poor poodles and other 'oodles' need to be sedated to have the wool plucked from their ears.

My day off yesterday was spent turning the six kilos of drunken fruit into many kilos of wedding and Christmas cake. Four tins lined with three layers of paper and one enormous bowl of mixture, made twice. The three tins below were photographed while the biggest one was in the oven.

This is a lot of mixture to lick from the bowl. Two such bowls equaled lunch :)

Now, Jossie and Toby are at Kids' Club, Bethany is out with her friend Hannah and I am packing for my weekend away! My reunion is tomorrow...... I think we should go to high tea beforehand to build up our strength. I'll pop on to NQN and research high tea possibilities.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Melbourne Cup Day Fun

Unlike my brother and sister-in-law who had the foresight to move to Melbourne, we had to go to work on Melbourne Cup Day. As usual, Kristy inspired us to get frocked up and have a little fun with it.

I wanted to get people to pose a little better but they were watching the actual race which is a bit boring of them really.

Like most workplaces in Australia we had sweeps running. Most of us had a fistful of horse names like Kelly. I had one for each member of the family plus two more and none were winners :( Andrew's horse obligingly came last, earning two dollars. I ought to have brought that home and given it to Andrew but I confess that it went into my coffee money box.

All that fuss for a horse race!

Today I stayed home with Tobes as he needed to go to the doctor to see about his cough. Hayfever is so bad at the moment that we were worried he might get asthma. Thankfully he just has a sinus infection and greatly appreciated a day off as he wasn't actually feeling unwell. Here he is enjoying a milkshake while we waited for his prescription to be filled. The book didn't fit into my handbag and was necessary for the doctor's surgery in case of a long wait. I didn't read it while we drank our coffee and milkshake, we talked. Toby told me that he and Callum both want to be policemen when they grow up. Toby is also considering astronomy, archeology and bakery....... time will tell.

Tomorrow I am going to attempt wedding and Christmas cake cooking. I have four tins to line, which will probably take all day (not a gross exaggeration), and the biggest of the cakes takes over 4 hours to cook! Can I do more than one at a time? Should I attempt to mix all the ingredients in one go? Mistakes would be demoralising, not to mention very expensive.
Only a few days to go until my 20 year school reunion. I am certainly looking forward to a day away in Sydney. I wonder if we could squeeze in high tea before the reunion? I will have to ask Andrew to record Spooks for me. Last Saturday's episode was very exciting. Do you think Malcolm has really left? I love the fact that Spooks is gritty and real, for all that it is fiction. When you watch Star Trek and a character you have never seen before is invited on an away mission you know straight away that he or she is going to die. With Spooks I am constantly surprised by the characters and they do away with them when least expected. I do hope the reunion is worth missing Spooks for........