Feb 18, 2020

A Colourful Eight.

After the rain and heat that's battered our city, Sunday was a gift.  Not too hot, not too cold.  The perfect conditions for getting out and about without getting soaked.


We stopped for coffee and a cupcake (not pictured as it was eaten well before this photo was taken) in between our morning errands.  The placement of the orange Haribo bear was Master SSG's idea.  I think he's onto something there.


Tourists in our own city?  As if we needed any further encouragement.  We took the light rail to Circular Quay, an activity and a destination that always spell adventure for me.  The bobbing of the carriage as it twists and turns through the city and the knots of people holding cameras and maps... their anticipation is contagious and never fails to make me relllaaaaxxxxxx....


The QVB saw in the Year of the Rat in style.  A pagoda painted in warm and regal red was festooned with golden cards bearing messages of good fortune and prosperity.



These golden rats cheekily chased each other down the central  hall of the building in search of this wedge of cheddar, I presume.


How cruel to then have the cheese boxed up in perspex!  So close, yet so far....


We stopped for tea at T2 and investigated what lay beneath the glass-domed testers.



The City of Sydney is gearing up for Mardi Gras 2020 and there were nods to rainbows in stores and on staircases.



Isn't the weather glorious right now?  Are you as excited as I am about the clear skies returning?

Feb 17, 2020

Life This Week 17/2/2020: Self Care Stories.

Things I've done just for me or enjoyed 'just because' this week....


Laps at the pool.


A coffee after those laps.


Discovering the first tomato on the vine I've grown from those Woolworths Discovery Garden seeds.


Another coffee but this time I found it at a new cafe I discovered on a walk I took around the suburb when I was a little early for a meeting at school.


It's been the week for little walks in between engagements.


It's been a huge recharge being away from screens and devices for these pockets of time during the day.  Nature always gives me energy and finding the unexpected as I walk makes me smile, imagine and reminisce.


Many local councils are doing their bulk rubbish collections for households right now and it's a visual feast on many front gardens!


Using my hands to create rather than scroll and tap is the newest addition to my self-care toolkit.


Knitting is tactile, it's structured and it's proven to be very soothing.  Keeping track of my stitches and looking out for errors are defined tasks for my mind and I am growing to enjoy, even prefer, these blocks of time I spend knitting over scrolling on my phone (which often leaves me wanting, wide awake or worried).

I'm currently trying to master the brioche stitch in this scarf I'm loom knitting.  Can't wait to wear it this winter.


I know.  I know.  I hate Valentine's Day but this year, I gave it a chance.  The day itself was one of those crazy Fridays at work which left me drained but throughout the day, I was given love in so many forms.  Kindness from people at work, warmth and gratitude from others, a big hug and a strawberry 'heart' from Master SSG, that intense and deep love from my family....  I despise the commercialized overtones that February 14th has taken on in our world but it is also a day that encourages me to see, appreciate and pass on the other kinds of love I see around me. 

To love is to care for both oneself and others.



It wasn't entirely fancy, it definitely wasn't romantic but our Valentine's Day dinner was a celebration of all the kinds of love we'd been shown and had shown through the day.  The bubbles were also a just reward for surviving the day in general :-)



Feb 10, 2020

Life This Week 10/2/2020: Interesting.

This week's interesting but also embarrassing achievement was that I finally (after having moved house five years ago) unpacked that last packing carton.


Inside the carton (and still in excellent condition, mind you) were a series of my favourite photos of Master SSG as a baby.  In further interesting developments, I have now hung up the entire series. 

Five years to unpack, one day to display.

The photos are now the last thing I see each night before bed.  I reminisce not only about those early months as a new mother but also about the life and routine I had in our old house.

I can't explain why but since the photos have been unpacked and hung, SSG Manor 2.0 has felt even more 'right' than before.  It's been beautiful and unexpected.


Feb 9, 2020

The Rain. In the Kitchen. Babyfacial.


You have a Sydneysider checking in today so of course all I have to talk about is The Rain.


Its ferocity has flooded carparks, caused leaks to spring in more than one roof, wreaked havoc on the traffic and caused all sorts of other interruptions to daily suburban life.  But (such an important 'but' that I've begun a sentence with the 'b' word) it has also brought much-needed relief to the bush fire-ravaged areas of the state, given the city a hit of green and freshness and given me a much needed go slow weekend.


The mornings have been too wet and slippery to hit the great outdoors for a spot of long-distance running, gardening or laundry hanging up.  Instead, it's been the great indoors for me and I've embraced its less strenuous activities with both hands and a mug of instant coffee.


Knitting projects have been finished under the direction of my favourite YouTubers


I've rediscovered the escalating one-up manTwitship of the Twits (the walking stick trick is my all-time favourite) with Master SSG



and my hardest cardio has been walking to the pool for swimming lessons in my gumboots.


There's been lots of activity in the kitchen on account of the weather.  This large batch of fridge clearing fried rice is going to go far in terms of quick weeknight dinners and school lunches this term.



There is a recipe for miso crusted broccolini and edamame in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of Super Food Ideas.


I'm trialling it as a meal prep lunch.  The tray baked broccolini (topped with butter, ginger, sesame and garlic-infused butter) gets served with soba and lemon wedges.    I'll report back.


As a loyal Masterfoods household, it was a given that their NY Cheeseburger Style Mac&Cheese would make an appearance for dinner.  Two thumbs up from us!


Recipe Tin Eats has delivered yet another winning dinner.  Her take on oven-baked fish fingers is easy, delicious and it's even possible to freeze prepped (but not baked) fish for future meals.



In discoveries beyond the kitchen, Drunk Elephant's Babyfacial ($80 USD but not available in Australia because of what I understand are issues with food and drug standards not being met) has arrived to rock my skincare world via a very kind friend. 

I bring up Babyfacial for a number of reasons.  Sunday is my 'go the extra mile' skincare day so I'll be popping this on a bit later.  Food and drug standards issues aside, Babyfacial is doing great things for my skin.  It's a potent BHA and AHA face mask and all you need to do is wear it for 20 minutes once a week, wash it off and try to stop yourself from constantly touching your new, soft face.  It did tingle a bit on my face at first and it does taste bitter if you accidentally wash it off into your mouth (this is me you're reading so, of course, this actually happened) but minor issues really for the miracles worked.

The internet has a list of potential equivalent products I could buy in Australia when my bottle of Babyfacial runs out but at this point, my favourite DE product is number one on my shopping list for next trip to the US.  Which I haven't actually started planning yet.  Better get moving on that, actually.  During this wet and housebound weekend, even.


Hope you're all safe and well in this weather.


And hoping that while this rain has and is doing great things for the country we get a hint of sun in the coming week.  

I can feel cabin fever coming on.



Feb 4, 2020

Waiting for the NBN. The Spoils of Summer.

It's a relatively cool, make that perfect 19C in Sydney right now. 



Perfect conditions, really, to be waiting with bated breath as the Telstra NBN technician works miracles as he tries to content my house to the promised land of the NBN.


Can you believe that only a few days ago we were sweltering through a suburban heatwave I thought would never end?  It was that energy-depleting, soul-draining kind of heat that lingered despite sun setting and despite the rain.  That Malteser Bunny had the right idea hiding in the freezer on a bed of freshly made ice cubes.


It was a weekend of drinking every conceivable fluid in the name of staying hydrated and fluid balanced.  We rediscovered raspberry cordial and discovered how delicious it is made with soda water and lots of ice.


Slushies were the perfect way to stay cool as we joined everyone else in the city at our local shopping centre.  I suppose if we were all clustered enjoying the air conditioning in a few central locations, it would ease the stress on the power grids because fewer homes would be using their systems.  See, shopping centres can be good for the environment after all!


Nature's own air conditioner is the beach in the evening.


Redleaf was an oasis on Saturday.


We ran, swam and paddled but mostly we just sat, immersed in the cooling water.  It was a coolness that lingered well after we begrudgingly left the beach for home.  Frayed nerves were soothed, flushed skin was calmed. 


The setting sun made the sky rose gold.  The city's reward for surviving another day of heat.


All that remains is for my NBN miracle to happen....



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