Hello, I’m back… Spring stories and Winter wrap-up all in one

Hello, I’m back. I started drafting a post Winter school holidays wrap up 2019: You can’t go wrong in Tallong at the beginning of Term 3. Life took over and I never published it, so I’ve whacked it onto the end of this post now at the end of the third week of Term 4!

Term 3 was all about:

  • getting to know our guinea pigs better
  • joining a new team at work
  • wintry walks,
  • collecting and trading in bottles for coins with Spider Boy as part of the ACT’s container recycling scheme
  • making delicious green soup (well, I did that once)
  • more guinea pig snuggles and lots of photos
  • a visit from mum from Sydney
  • a trip to Melbourne for a Problogger day
  • book week at school
  • a walk in the National botanical gardens
  • a visit to Floriade at the beginning of Spring
  • enjoying the sight of pink and white spring blossoms in Canberra’s streets
  • more Lush bath bombs
  • Steptember
  • trivia night with work mates
  • kicking the soccer ball around in the park in the late afternoons
  • prepping Spider Boy for school camp (but then he got sick and I collected him after dinner on the first night)
  • exploring Lake Gininderra on Canberra’s north side

Then we had a visit to my Dad in the Blue Mountains and Mum in Sydney for a week in the October holidays.

I have no photos of the past couple of months in this post as I’ve run out of storage space on WordPress so I’ll need to pay for more before I can upload any new images.

Meanwhile, here’s my recap and photos from July school holidays 2019!

Winter wrap up… July School Holidays

I worked for one day of the school holidays then took the rest of the time off work. We had a few days away in Tallong with my friend Nadia and her two boys.

Spider boy and I dropped off our new pet guinea pigs at their holiday resort, the “Cavy Comfort Motel” (the exotic pet boarding facilities at the local vet), stopped off for petrol and a tyre check, then went through the Macca’s drive-through all before we’d left Canberra’s north. We headed down the Federal Highway to Goulburn and all was well, until it wasn’t.

There was a distinct “air noise” – the sound of air rushing through something. By the time we pulled up at Bundanoon station to pick up my friends, it sounded like we were dragging something. It was the mud flap. We drove on a rocky dirt road from Tallong to the property we were staying at. The sound of the mud flap dragging was very disconcerting, not to mention my worry at the sound of stones flying up and hitting the underside of the car. Then the noise stopped. A smoother road part of the road perhaps?

When we drove out of the property the next day to explore the area, I drove past something long, black and twisted on the side of the road. “I think that was my mud flap” I announced, and everyone laughed. I picked it up on my way back and shoved in the back of the hatchback.

Here are some happy snaps from the trip…

View from the back door

Tallong had a bit in common with New York:

The kids wanted to be a part of it… not New York, but it’ll do.

We met some very friendly donkeys at the sprawling Air B&B property my friend had booked: Tex, Don and Charlie, named after members of Cold Chisel.

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Mr.11 taught Tex/Charlie/Don the art of the selfie. Album cover?

They ate carrots and hay and made us miss our new(ish) pet guinea pigs even more.

Hello Spider boy

Walking in Penrose state forest to the sound of banjos playing

Evening activities

Stone buildings in Taralga, where we went for a day trip from Tallong.

July winter festival in Bundanoon

Morning tea in Bundanoon

Exeter Antique shop.

A few days later, we said goodbye to our friends and Spider boy and I drove back to Canberra with the mudflap still in the back and had no further car problems.

Then we had a few days in Sydney in the second week. Sydney in Winter is absolutely one of the best places to be. Definitely a reprieve from the Canberra cold.

Sydney Winter is a walk in the park, or a ferry ride on the Harbour.

We managed to make it in to the Rocks and Circular Quay for the Bastille Festival.

Extremely decadent lunch of fries and truffle aioli

We love getting our art fix at the MCA when we’re in that part of town.

Discovered Portrait mode on the iPhone!

See? Sydney Winter is a splash at the beach

It’s a kick of the beach ball in thongs

It’s watching the sun set from a ferry.

Thanks for a beautiful Winter escape, Sydney!

Edited highlights: Spring flowers, food and boys in the wild

Lately I’ve been enjoying so many colourful blooms in Canberra and that doesn’t even include Floriade, the National Capital’s annual flower festival. Now that the cold of Winter has passed, let’s look back at some Spring highlights…

I noticed a neighbour planting bulbs a few months ago and look what happened!

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Fields of gold: Spring literally springing

Spider Boy and I were invited to the most delicious Indian dinner at a school friend’s house. Cooked by an auntie visiting from Mumbai. It was honestly THE best Indian food I’ve ever had, including my favourite butter chicken.

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Amazing flavours of India

I found myself in the position I hadn’t been in since last year… unemployment! But it was only for a week and it was the last week of the school term. I have a new job starting today, first day of the new school term! #Timing.

But there was that day three weeks ago when I had time to go to the gym after school drop-off and then stop into a cafe for coffee and a muffin that just looked too good to resist. Yes,  don’t worry, I walked to the coffee shop afterwards. Better than when I was in my 20s and would get a taxi to the gym and then a taxi to McDonalds.

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HAD to replenish after the gym.

The following week, Spider Boy’s Dad took him to his favourite comic shop, Impact Comics, while I sat in Dobinsons and did some plotting and planning, just like old times in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

This Canberra city cafe reminds me of home, as it’s named after the former Dobinsons of Rose Bay and owned by the grand-daughter of the original Dobinson. It’s my little bit of Rose Bay in Canberra when Lake BG just isn’t doing it for me. Although what am I talking about, how could Lake BG not do it for me!

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Sun streaming in the Dobinsons window on a rainy/sunny Spring afternoon

Spider Boy came into the Canberra Centre with me a couple of times this holidays and played with the wall art. You press a button and the light changes colour. Plus he’s developed a mysterious craving for Subway sandwiches. Funny, since I never take him there. But at least he’s over his McDonald’s obsession!

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Canberra Centre: where the magic happens.

The Daffodils in the first picture actually started springing up in August. Now this little mini-field of fireballs has sprung up. Well done, mysterious neighbour whose name I don’t know! I practically don’t even need to go to Floriade any more! It’s right here in my own shared driveway.

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Fields of fire

Not too far from Canberra, there’s a unique place to explore our natural world… well that’s what the sign at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve says. And that’s exactly what it is. On the fringe of Namadgi National Park, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is around 50 square kilometres of protected area only about 40 minutes drive from Canberra.

We had a beautiful day with the boys (Spider Boy and his friend), although they DID keep mentioning complaining about the fact there was no Subway there. Thank goodness!

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I think a little bit more of this would be good for them.

Have you been enjoying the warmer weather?

What do you like best about Spring in Canberra?

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: 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?