Edited Highlights: Sugar, blossoms, cake and colouring-in

Time to catch up on the past month with a series of snapshots that seem to be mostly food and floral.

I snuck away from my desk last Friday (working from home means I’m just sneaking away from myself) and went to local whole foods store, About Life. I ate a raspberry and coconut muffin that was delicious even though it probably didn’t have refined white sugar in it. Oh well.

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But refined white sugar is kind of my thing… so when I saw this 50’s-style sugar canister (which disappointingly only contained air) at Spider Boy’s school art show, I had to steal a photo. Maybe sugar itself will be a relic from the past one day, just like this canister. Sigh.

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Spring jonquils at my dad’s place…

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I love the way my cousin’s wife styled her kid’s birthday party table… they turned 3 and 1, two weeks apart so a combined party was the order of the day.

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I made some apple pies…

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I needed the whipped cream to mask the heavy pastry texture. Not quite enough carbs, fat or sugar in these little morsels I’m afraid.

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On a lighter and brighter note, the blossoms have blessed our street!

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And obviously I’ve drunk lots of coffee (and muffins) this month… but Spider Boy just gets water. Oh alright, sometimes he gets a hot chocolate. And chips.

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Now I’m going to let you in on a little secret… colouring-in is really big right now. You know when you see a “Zen” colouring book as free gift with That’s Life magazine, that colouring-in is a thing. And the local Dymock’s has a wall of colouring books, as does the National Gallery gift shop in Canberra. But I’ve been colouring-in (as an adult) since 1997. But back then, Barbie colouring-in books were all I could find. Now there is so much choice! It is VERY relaxing.

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Speaking of the National Gallery gift shop, if I had the money I would buy all of the books…

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Since I know I’ll never really be Parisian, or Danish, and will never find the time for handmade projects for a cute Tokyo-inspired lifestyle, I could just go for the Mammoth Book of Losers to make me feel better about my epic failure and underachievement in NOT being Parisian or Danish, or achieving that cute Tokyo-inspired lifestyle. Sigh.

This post is coming to an end but there’s time for dessert before I go…

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This cake I made last Sunday was meant to be a lime syrup cake. I had all the ingredients, except limes. I had a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge, so I used a bit of that. But then after making the cake, I RAN OUT OF SUGAR. So had no sugar to make the lemon syrup.  So it wasn’t going to be a syrup cake at all, was it? So I defrosted some left-over cream-cheese icing from the Father’s Day carrot cake I’d made, and dolloped that on. Plus some hundreds and thousands just for fun and fancy.

It all worked out in the end.

What are you enjoying this week?

Edited Highlights: Silver white Winters that melt into Spring

It’s the last day of Winter today, but really, the past few weeks have been “Sprinter”; some days warm, some days chilly, while the season transitions.

I’m feeling a bit Sound of Music with this post. Everything is reminding me of the lyrics from My Favourite Things.

We may not have had raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but the past few weeks of Winter we’ve had snowdrops on boys on toboggans and whiskers on Spider Boy. Instead of cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels we’ve seen cream coloured Labradors, and while we didn’t eat any deep-fried camembert balls, we’ve thought about them.

Winter is one of my favourite things and now it’s time to give it a big ol’ farewell.

During this season we hit the slopes – not the ski slopes, but a small toboggan run at Corin Forest just outside Canberra…IMG_7107

The new donut and coffee shack (on the slope) wasn’t open yet, but the cafe at the bottom of the hill was and we enjoyed the massive open fire where we toasted marshmallows that were practically pillow-sized. The wood fired pizza was very good, but this place gets crowded at lunchtime (being the only food place in the area) so we did have to wait rather a long time for it.

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The next day we all enjoyed the art at the National Gallery…

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Turning a blind eye: A kindly security guard ignores Spider Boy and the Magician.

After numerous warnings to the boys to be careful about not getting too close to the art, I managed to set off the alarm after getting to close to a Monet. I did the same thing on my last visit when I got too close to Blue Poles.

Back in Sydney I caught up with my friend Nadia who I’ve known since school days. We had a drink at the Green Park in Darlinghurst, then moved onto the pop-up bar “The Chalet” where the highlight for us was a random 80s ski movie playing mutely on a big screen. We recognised none of the actors… where was the king of 80s ski movies, John Cusack? (star of Better Off Dead, and the retro classic Hot Tub Time Machine)

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Despite promising ourselves a deep-fried camembert ball, we just had a drink and popped next door to Lil’ Darling for dinner, but it was so full of Hens parties, we were forced to flee to the nearest Thai place. We were told we could eat there as long as we were out by 10pm as they had to set up for a cooking class in the morning. So after our Pad Thai we just decided to call it a night and vowed we would return to “The Chalet”. We haven’t.

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The rest of Winter has passed in a haze of coffee (me), hot chocolate (Spider Boy) and cronuts (me) …

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The “Cave of Doom” at Ruby’s Diner in Queens Park leads to the bathroom, although the bit about “abandoning hope all ye who enter here” is perfectly apt for how I felt about my hopes for healthy eating that day once I spied the cronuts!

Winter beach visits…

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…where Spider Boy had plenty of room to practice his Ninja Turtle moves.

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Sprinter has graced us with her presence, as evidenced by the magnolias blooming outside our kitchen window.

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Spider Boy visited his old pre-school for a fundraiser (to raise money after the centre was disgustingly vandalised).

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We visited the Sydney Dog Lovers show for some puppy inspiration…

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See? A cream-coloured labrador. Almost as good as a pony.

And of course no event would be complete without the obligatory silly-photo board and face-painting!

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Bye Winter!

Here’s to the delights of a new season, wherever you are.

Edited Highlights: big icecreams, snowboarding and bucking broncos

During the past few days I have been googling and stumbling upon things for Spider Boy to do in the school holidays. There is so much choice, with price tags ranging from free to ridiculous. Thankfully, there is a lot of free and affordable fun to be had around town.

But before I post about school holiday fun, I can’t move forward until I look back, so here’s just a few Edited Highlights from the past few weeks.

In my most recent post, I wrote about my visit to the wonderful Hungarian bakery Kurtosh House. While I was fuelling up Eastern European style, my son was doing this…

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So how did I get the photos, you may ask, if I was eating baked goods a couple of kilometres away? I took them before I left the scene, secure in the knowledge that this is what he would be doing for the next hour. This “bucking bronco” at a birthday party Spider Boy attended at Kidsportz, may have looked like a giant guinea pig, but that certainly didn’t deter any wannabe cowboys.

There was the outing to Darling Harbour where Spider Boy and I caught up with some family. A Sunday here is a plethora of food options, colour and fun. The children’s playground is busy with lots of big structures to climb on, slide down and swing across, and for the cost of a gold coin or two, you can ride the carousel.

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And it’s not all running and jumping and spinning with the kids, there’s plenty of pleasant strolling opportunities with great perspectives of the city bathed in the burnished gold of late afternoon sun.

There was our stumbling upon Sydney’s Winter Festival last Saturday. The pop-up “Winter Garden” outside St.Mary’s Cathedral is a stone’s throw from Spider Boy’s swimming lesson, so naturally when you step out of the pool, you can jump onto a snowboard, or if you’re taller than 140cm (which SB is not) ride in a giant Lindt Ball.

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City outings are all very well, but sometimes you just want to climb a tree in your local park…

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…just as much fun for a spider boy. Cost: free. Relaxing in a tree in the late afternoon sun? Priceless.

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And so the sun sets on another Edited Highlights.

Until next time, enjoy the little things.

Edited Highlights: Month in review: baked goods, street art and 80s pop

It’s a cold and windy start to Winter today but at least the sun is out so the weekend washing is drying nicely outside.

Given that it’s the start of a new season I think it’s high time for some Edited Highlights from the past few weeks.

In May I enjoyed my Mother’s Day breakfast… IMG_4906

Mmmm… bacon. Even better when the bacon is on a waffle with maple syrup… IMG_4909

A good friend from Melbourne came over for dinner. I’m no domestic goddess so it’s not like he came all the way from Melbourne for my great cooking. He was in Sydney on business. I kept it simple with pasta, pesto sauce (from a jar), salad, a fresh loaf of sourdough and hummus. I had some fresh rosemary sprigs from my dad’s garden so stuck that in two glasses of water and voila – table centrepiece. Threw in a few lemons too to enhance the Tuscan vibe.IMG_5183_2

Spider Boy, Bat-Gran and I swung by one our favourite bakeries, Brasserie Bread at Banksmeadow on a recent Sunday drive. Spider Boy went there on a school excursion last year and learnt how to make a bread roll and a pizza. But on this day, we just looked at jam jars.

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At school, Spider Boy is learning about the differences between the past and present – the Year 2 children had to interview someone “from the olden days”. He chose his granddad (my dad) because as he told me, “He’s more olden-days than you, Mum.”

Here are some mid-20th Century snaps of my dad and family. Spider Boy couldn’t believe that the only electronic device around when his granddad was seven, was a radio.

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Bottom left: My dad at 7, the same age Spider Boy is now, with his younger brothers.

And from my 1940s Pop to 1980s pop, Lulu and I went to see the Absolutely 80s band perform at Souths Juniors Rugby League club at Kingsford last Friday night. Brian Mannix (Uncanny X-Men), Paul Gray (Wa Wa Nee), Scott Carne (Kids in the Kitchen), David Sterry (Real Life) and Dale Ryder (Boom Crash Opera) in one pop-tastic show singing all their own hits plus great covers of songs from the Models, INXS, and Dragon. Seeing these guys perform is always such a fun night out, and their voices haven’t changed since the days I used to watch them on Countdown.

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Clockwise from top left: Brian Mannix, Paul Gray, David Sterry and Scott Carne.

I indulged in the sweet tunes, but unfortunately NOT in the sweet treats I spied the next day in the Myer Food Court. I looked, but did not touch.

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Instead, I bought an expensive pastry down at the Sydney Writers’ Festival cafe… more about the Writers’ Festival in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, here’s a picture of the action down at SWF headquarters at Walsh Bay last week. IMG_5275

Before we began our trek down to Walsh Bay, we stumbled upon the Home Food and Design Weekend marquee in front of St.Mary’s Cathedral. We walked in (there was no admission charge), did a quick circuit with Spider Boy who was keen to get to  lunch after his swimming lesson, and emerged five minutes later with a goodie bag. Gotta love free stuff.

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Goodie bag booty.

We also spent some time at Circular Quay… IMG_5377

We found some street art at the entrance to Nurse’s Walk in the Rocks. It was a piece for Vivid, the light festival that is currently gracing the city until June 8. As it was 3pm, it wasn’t lit up yet. IMG_5361

Spider Boy found a sculpture outside a touristy/opal/jewellery store that he was strangely taken with. He wanted me to buy it. But it was a “No” from me. He clutched onto his little bunch of Autumn leaves instead, the last of the season. IMG_5451

Here’s to a new season, wherever you are.

Edited Highlights Easter 2015: Pretty eggs, bi-faith buns and a carb fest

Easter may seem like a distant memory, but I’ve just had two Easters one week after another so it is still front of mind for me – helped by the suspicious bits of shiny coloured foil wrapping I keep finding on the floor and the strange bunny eyes glaring at me from the recesses of the darkened pantry.

So here’s a recap: Good Friday was rainy; perfect for painting these ceramic Easter eggs from a kit I’d bought at Target the day before. So much fun for only $6! image

The kit contained a paint set and six eggs with a string loop on each (to hang on your egg-tree? Apparently they’re making a comeback). I had visions of pastel-hued eggs in a basket, but Spider Boy’s decorating aesthetic does not match my own… image

Never mind, at least it amused him for about 10 minutes. Later in the day during a rain break we went to the Grumpy Baker cafe near a cliff-top park where the lovely floral displays caught my eye… image

…as did their bi-faith bun supply. image

A walk in the nearby park followed our cafe visit. I wondered if Spider Boy thought the grass was greener on the other side. image

By Easter Sunday, fittingly the sun had come out… image

…Lucky! Wouldn’t have wanted the Easter Bunny’s egg delivery to get wet. Spider Boy got plenty of chocolate-attention from the big Bunny, and from Aunty Señorita Margarita too! image

On Easter Monday we went to see Lulu and her son the Magician. They showed us the Magician’s Easter Bonnet that he wore in his school’s annual Easter Hat parade. He’s in year 2 now and they just keep adding ornaments to the same hat each year. By the time he’s in year 6 it’s going to look like Carmen Miranda’s head-gear with a Copacabana twist. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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I love it. In fact, I think I’ll forget the ceramic egg craft next year and go straight to the Easter Bonnet! 2 Dollar shop, here we come!

A week later we experienced Greek Easter in Canberra with Spider Boy’s dad’s family friends. It was very aesthetically and gastronomically pleasing…

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It was great for the carbotarians amongst us what with the cheese pie, cheese and cream potatoes, pastries and bread. Oh and the lamb on the spit gets a special mention.

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After returning from Canberra, Spider Boy went to a new wordworking school for kids, Tool School, for a half-day workshop, where he learnt how to use a screw-driver, a manual drill and manual saw. And he made this awesome Foosball table! Thanks to Kerryn at Tool School for teaching him some great DIY skills! He now has a beautiful wooden toy he can keep forever.

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And we finished off the holidays with a visit to our local library to learn about other uses for toilet paper and ripped sheets…

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How was your Easter?

Edited highlights: Street fairs, sculpture and political cuteness

I found this draft from this time last year and thought I would share highlights from November 2014 with you now…

Sydney in November is a whirl of public art, street fairs and jacaranda petals. There was a local street fair…

Camels in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney is not something you see everyday…

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At another street fair (on a different day a few streets away), this llama did not look amused. Perhaps he was out of sorts because of all the toddlers and ducks running underfoot. Or maybe he just couldn’t see anything.

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The above photo of a Spiderman plaster ornament painted by my Spider Boy got a “Like” on Instagram from the real Spiderman! (Tobey Maguire thanks very much, not Andrew Garfield)

Sydney was awash with jacaranda petals…

and there was a night out with my oldest girlfriends (or the girlfriends I’ve know for the longest time).

There was Sculpture by the Sea…

These lips are made from lipstick cases. I love the placement of the “lip shine” with pale lipstick cases. It was priced at around $8000. Where would you hang a pair of lips like these? Bathroom, kitchen or hallway?

There was the Woollahra Council Small Sculpture Prize…

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Spider Boy was quite taken with this little creature, who was crafted from the pages of books and porcupine quills! (look at his “hands”).

And then there was my mother’s affair with the Dutch Prime Minister (in her head)…

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From the moment Mark Rutte (pronounced “Rooter”) stepped onto the tarmac on his first Australian tour, my mother was smitten.
“Oooh, he’s a little doll,” she cooed about the 185cm politician.

“He looks too young to be a Prime Minister. I wonder how old he is?”

I whipped out my Google machine and told her he was 47. Also, his birthday is Valentine’s Day.

“Oh. He’s probably got a nice wife at home,” said Mum wistfully.

I told her that Emma Alberici would be interviewing Mr.Rutte on Lateline that night and we must remember to watch.

“Oooh yeah,” said Mum, with the same enthusiasm usually reserved for caramel slices.

“Look Mum!” I said when Lateline began a few hours later.

“Shush!” she said, leaning forward in her seat, staring intently at the  TV, “I’m trying to watch.”

Shushed for the Dutch Prime Minister.

And that was November.

 

Edited Highlights: Sunshine, lollipops and Lady Gaga

Going to a Lady Gaga concert last week seemed like a great way to welcome Spring.  I’d never seen La Gaga perform before. I only knew three of her songs (I am stuck in the ’80s remember), but my friend Eva had free tickets so I gratefully accepted because I knew it would be one big party with the girls!

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Photo taken by Eva. Gaga looked right at Eva’s phone camera.  Lucky! Love the spring-themed undies.

The ARTPOP Ball 2014, ArtRAVE, was like a massive party.

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It was truly a spectacle with regular confetti drops of tiny paper shells, pink paper shoes and stars. If only life came with its own staged confetti drops at regular intervals. But I guess if you’re Gaga, it does!

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I have to say I was impressed with Lady Gaga. She is a consummate entertainer. Her many amazing costume changes, her interaction with the crowd and the production values of the show were all brilliant. And she can sing. Thanks for a great night Eva!

The next day was officially Spring and the local shops had their best outfits on.

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Looks like my local shop raided Gaga’s underwear drawer. As for the pastries, don’t worry, I walked on by.

Spider Boy lost a tooth, but I think I need to accept he is just not a fan of fairy dust (glitter) like his mum. I got the hint when he was fishing the coins out of the water and screamed in horror, “Aaaargh! I’ve got glitter on me!”

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Nor is Spider Boy a fan of stuffed animals, even if they are cute celebrity dogs

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I’m sure Lady Gaga would’ve loved this Boo dog.

 

And in other big news, I created a new breakfast. Chocolate brioche grilled with raspberries and served with a dollop of Greek yoghurt. Delish!

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Finally, all the sunshiny/rainy weather last week created this joy in an otherwise ordinary sky.

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How was the first week of the new season for you?

 

Edited Highlights: delightfully pink, playfully green. And trashy chocolate.

I should be posting Edited Highlights at the end of a week, not the beginning (and let’s face it, we’re rapidly sliding towards the middle of the week), but technical problems over the weekend has caused a delay to my “posting schedule”, which is admittedly haphazard – but I’m working on that.

The last week of winter was a mix of wet weather and sunny days but I thought I’d get into the spirit of Spring with this collection of pink(ish) things.

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Clockwise from top left we have the perfect after dinner “dessert” (yeah, that’s what I tell myself, wait till you see what I really had for dessert last week (not every day – have to maintain that 300 gram weight-loss after all).

I found this cute little set of measuring cups and spoons in Woolworths and I plan to make good use of them, measuring ingredients for baking AND for those two words diet gurus are so fond of, “portion control”.  Mmmm baking and portion control. That’s a potential stressful situation right there.

Unlock Your Style by Nikki Parkinson from Styling You was launched a few weeks ago and it is next on my reading list. Hoping to unlock my style this Spring.

And as I had used up my last drop of Chanel No.5 a little while ago, I thought it the perfect time to finally open this gift from my jet-setting Dad. I do love miniatures. That black lump on the lid is a tiny tiny fabric rose attached to a tiny tiny elastic band. Tres chic!

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Here is my neck line getting ready for Spring with rhinestones. I love a good bedazzling. This jumper comes from Topshop.  I like to wear it next to this Magnolia which is blooming like no tomorrow.

In other news, I have been a little annoyed by the negative reaction to Lena Dunham’s Emmy’s dress last week.

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According to the above poll on Hollywoodlife.com, 85.95% of respondents loathed it, and 14.05% loved it.

I am firmly in the love camp. I just love it. And I love her for wearing it. That is all.

Now to the serious business of garden greenery and park playtime.

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We have a few little strawberries growing in a tub in the courtyard. I love this patch of greenery. I don’t know what it’s called but the tiny flat leaves give the impression of a soft emerald carpet on the pavers. And Spider Boy found a caterpillar… that he enjoyed poking a bit with a stick. I know it seems awful but I didn’t want to deny SB’s natural curiosity. The caterpillar remained unscathed. Well maybe a little bit scathed, but still alive. I’m sure it bounced back. Unless a bird got it.

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Then it was time for some scooter riding in the park. Here’s Spider Boy in his Buzz Lightyear helmet carrying his scooter to the pathway.

And we finished the week with the king of desserts – chocolate brownies.

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Yeah, I thought a chocolate brownie from Domino’s Pizza wasn’t trashy enough. So I trashed it up a bit more. Double the fun.

Have you unleashed some new things for Spring – or Autumn?

Edited highlights: drowning in the shadow of a lighthouse

There’s slim pickings on the photo front this week, due to illness (Spider Boy and I) and a neck/shoulder injury (mine, not serious, but annoying, like a big fat pain in the you-know-what), but I managed to capture a few shots this week.

I had the brainwave of taking Spider Boy on a tour of a really old lighthouse on Sydney’s South Head. I think it’s only open once a year, but of course, the morning we were due to go on our pre-paid tour, the weather was looking ominous.

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So near, yet so far. View from the car. In case you were wondering why the sky looks so dirty. That’s the windscreen.

We drove up , parked in the next street, and the exact moment Spider Boy and I got out of the car was the exact moment the heavens opened. Not just a sprinkle – it was torrential. Now of course, being an adult, you know that once you’re in the lighthouse, you won’t be rained on, you’ll get an amazing never-before-seen view, even if it’s raining outside (maybe). And Sydney weather being what it is, the skies might have cleared by the time we’d climbed the hundred steps to the top.

A hundred steps, I thought. I was ready to tackle them, but was Spider Boy?

By now the rain was blowing sideways and coming in under our umbrellas as we began the trek up to the lighthouse. Spider Boy was crying tearlessly as his little pirate umbrella attempted to make a break from his hands. “My umbrella! Mum, I’ve changed my mind I don’t want to go, let’s get back to the car!”

“Oh come on,” I enthused, “It’ll be fine. Don’t you want to see the lighthouse and the view?”

“No, I want to get back in the car!”

He’d been so keen that morning, waking up and running into the living room chanting “We’re going to the lighthouse!”

“Oh come on, it’s only a few minutes walk, it’s just there, see, just that thing there, it’ll be dry inside! Just there!”

“No, I want to go home!”

“Ok” I agreed, “let’s go back to the car”

So we got back in the car and drove a bit closer to the lighthouse and stopped in the No Stopping zone just across the road from it.

The rain had stopped. I made a last-ditch attempt. “Are you sure you don’t want to go?”

“No! I mean, yes, I’m sure!” my little boy said.

I thought of Spider Boy trudging up those hundred steps. He was recovering* from a cold, he was probably still feeling a bit weak, maybe it was too much to expect of him. He is only six.

As we drove away I noticed a patch of blue and light in the sky over the Sydney heads. Maybe next year.

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So long, farewell, and better luck next time.

I never thought I’d be the type to be a birdwatcher, but oh, look what I’ve become. I’ve been enjoying magpies outside my window, reminding me of cool country mornings of childhood holidays. A walk across a local golf course saw me surrounded by swallows; diving, swooping, circling me and generally showing off. All I needed was Bambi and I would’ve been Snow frickin’ White (yeah, right, that’s ALL I need to become a Disney Princess). Once across the golf course there was no Bambi, just a flock of nut-cracking cockatoos.

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In other exciting mediocre news, I discovered a new line of Cadbury chocolate, “Strawberries and creme”. It feels much healthier and bizarrely, like I’ve eaten less calories, when this chocolate is eaten with actual strawberries. My philosophy must work because I’ve lost 300 grams (of fat, not chocolate) in the last month. Yes, it’s a slow loss. Because that’s how I roll.

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*Spider Boy’s cold that I thought he’d recovered from on lighthouse day turned into a middle-ear infection this week. Was it because he has a mother who would have him climb a lighthouse in a downpour? I am also on antibiotics for extended coughing and spluttering.  Blame it on the rain?

How was your week?

 

Edited highlights: forgotten treasures, ninja turtles and a girls’ night

Although it’s pouring with rain as I write this, it hasn’t clouded my memories of some wonderful winter sunshine during the past week. Great for scooting (Spider Boy) and walking (me) in the park.

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Lovely day for it. (sunbaking, stretching, whatever that person is doing).

I went on a girls’ night out (nothing raucus, just a quiet dinner) with my two best friends I’ve known since high school…. so that’s a loooooong time… and took in the pretty lights of night-time Bondi decked out for Winter Magic.

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Clockwise from top right: Ravesi’s, window display in gift shop So Gorgeous, Campbell Pde from the restaurant doorway.

I had to clear some of my “stuff” out of my dad’s garage and found a box of my art and craft supplies, including these gems from a drawing class I took in 2002. The Derwents were unopened! I have always loved having a go at art, or at least the idea of art. But inspired by Sex in The City‘s  Charlotte York-McDougall when she took up tap-dancing after leaving husband Trey, I took the evening-college course because I was trying to keep busy after breaking up with a boyfriend. I just remember the drawing teacher looking at my work in class and saying, “You need to practice…and Alex, practice a lot.” But I think a couple of weeks into the course, I went skiing instead, with the boyfriend I’d just broken up with. And no, he did not become my husband. That was a different break-up.

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“Misty water-coloured memories…” Are those the lyrics? Barbara Streisand right?

Spider Boy had caught a cold which turned into a cough so he stayed home from school. Which gave me a chance to catch up on some Ninja Turtle action. Spider Boy pulled his best Ninja Turtle face when I told him it was time for Mathletics on the computer. He wasn’t that sick.

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These turtles scowl the way Spider Boy does when I tell him he’s “so cute”.

I caught the bus home at sunset and captured these pics out the window.

I love the pastel hues at this time of day.

I love the pastel hues at this time of day.

What have you enjoyed this week?