Dec 9, 2019

Life This Week 9/12/2019: Taking Stock.

It's the second week of December, Christmas is a fortnight away.  I sound very battle weary in this week's 'Taking Stock' because of both these facts.  It's been a very therapeutic post to write though and I feel the better for completing that last prompt.

Making: space in my wardrobe for all the new dresses I've 'collected' in recent weeks.

Cooking : dumplings for school lunches.  Yes, it's a thing.

Drinking : 'hot' warm water from my insulated, stainless steel Tiger flask.

The Year that Changed Everything - Cathy Kelly
via The Book Depositary

Reading: Cathy Kelly again.  I'm finding the suburban lives the women of her novels lead comforting and familiar.

Trawling: through my favourite recipes for the ones for Christmas.

Wanting: a bit of a break.  Nothing flash.  Just a pre-Christmas day off.  I might just make it happen.

Looking: tired.  It's been a week of extreme time management as I've tried my best to be at two places at once.  

Deciding: that Francois Nars is The Guru when it comes to giving life to a sleep-deprived visage.  

Wishing: my Christmas present buying mojo would just come alive already.  I'm running out of time.

Enjoying: yoga in the glow of my Christmas tree lights.

Waiting: for the air to clear.  Literally.

Liking: lamb cutlets and greens as a simple dinner.  Even more so when said lamb cutlets were half price.

Wondering: if I put the solar-powered power source for my outdoor Christmas lights in the best post to gain maximum sun exposure this morning.  I'm also excited to see if I did get it right this time.  Update: they work!!!  I just had to switch the power source on as well as making sure it was in direct exposure to the sun.  I'm obsessed.  I wonder how many more strings of lights my tiny front garden can handle.  Solar-powered reindeer lights, anyone?

Loving: that festive feeling in the air.

Pondering: the need for shop security tagging on sliced cold cuts from the deli....

Listening: to the comforting whir of the air-conditioning as I sit inside, safe from the heat and the air pollution.

Considering: what the going rate is with The Tooth Fairy these days.  It was a first wobbly tooth too and there were no tears when it finally fell out. $5?  Sound fair?

Buying: lollies, toys and Christmas bibs and bobs.  I'm spacing out my gift buying this year and keeping my sanity in the process.

Watching: my Cash Back balance grow and feeling better about all that shopping I've been doing recently.

Hoping: for a  self-indulgent sleep in tomorrow morning.

Marvelling: that the light rail on George Street is finally live!  It's been a long process for everyone in Sydney.  It's definitely an exciting new feature of the city that will redefine the landscape and, I hope, make George Street even more appealing as a pedestrian.

Cringing: as I feel that mysterious creak return to my right knee.

Needing: bright light to read any fine print these days.  And my glasses.

Questioning: nothing.  I'm writing this on a Friday evening and am actively powering down the asking section of my mind.

Smelling: this week's coconut, apricot and banana baked oats baking in the oven.

Wearing:  heels and walking in them.  Then admitting defeat, taking them off and enjoying the simple pleasure of walking the footpaths in my bare feet.

Noticing: postage for a standard letter rises to $1.10 next year.  

Knowing: that a mug of tea and an early night with my Kindle will be much better for me than a glass of wine.

Thinking: that it would be wise to do what  I know will work best.

Admiring: the Christmas decorations that have started to go up around work this week.  There are some incredibly creative constructions made from everyday and recycled items.

Getting: weekend-ready as I sit here typing and sipping my mug of tea.

Bookmarking: travel stuff for next year!  The planning always perks me up when I'm a bit weary.

Opening: my wall calendar for 2020 and entering term dates and holidays.

Closing: some Word docs.  I'm ahead of myself at the moment.  I hope this means next week will be nothing but efficient on the strength of the preparation I've just completed.

Feeling: the jiggly seasonal cheer as I chase Santa's Belly around the bathtub.....

Hearing: the 'message sent' whoosh on my laptop.  Ahh, work, my good friend.  You're never far away.

Celebrating: the festival of seven!!!  Happy, Happy Birthday, Master SSG!

Pretending: I'm not tired.  Which is silly because it's only going to catch up with me at the worst possible time.

Embracing: my personal progress with yoga.  Learning the power of my breath and the power of my mind both in practice and in life beyond the mat.

Dec 5, 2019

The QVB, The Galeries and Circulay Quay. Revisited for Christmas.

My favourite intersection on George Street is where The Galeries gazes across to Town Hall.

My favourite time of day to look up at Town Hall from George Street is in the evening.  Especially at this time of the year.

The clouds and the haze set that sandstone off to golden perfection. I've read somewhere (the internet) that the architecture was inspired by the French Second Empire Hotel de Ville in Paris.  Oh Paris, you're never far from my mind these days, are you?

From the steps of Town Hall you can gaze out onto the new light rail (which should be live soon) before turning your head to the right to catch skyscrapers glistening through the haze.  I like that contrast of the golden sandstone behind me and the shimmer of glass and steel in front of me.

Books Kinokuniya is my favourite place above ground at The Galeries.  Getting lost in the world of each richly stocked aisle is a rare treat for me these days.  It's not just the range of books that makes me linger, it's everything else they've branched into as well.  There's the famed Japanese stationery section as well as the everchanging contents of the display cabinets.

This week, there was a display devoted to Japanese embroidery complete with handwritten information cards and needlework I presume were contributed by staff members.

The subterranean food court at The Galeries is my favourite food court in the entire CBD.

There's always somewhere to sit (and escape the world if you please) and the mix of retail and food is pitch perfect for me.

Boon Table is a deliciously Vietnamese / Pan-Asian take on the whole food thing.

This is my tofu bowl on a half and half bed of brown rice and noodles.  An 11/10, order on repeat kind of lunch in my book.

Walking onwards with a full tummy to another of my favourite places - Circular Quay.  This giant Christmas bauble on the promenade is designed to be touched, walked through, used as a mirror and yes.. posted to social media.

Behold the suitably chic tree at the Sofitel.

Behold, also, the suitably cute Sofitel kangaroo which was a birthday dinner gift for Master SSG.

The Sofitel Darling Harbour is the one hotel in the CBD that seems to consistently go above and beyond when it comes to hosting their junior guests.  Well played, Team Sofitel.

We were back at Town Hall on Monday night for speech night.

May I just state the obvious?  Seven-year-old boys and the CBD have a certain chemistry.  The majestic steps of Town Hall become a historic piece of play equipment as they climb, weave across and jump from them.  Footpaths full of commuters (glued to their phones and oblivious to their squeals due to the secure fit of their AirPods) are cones to be run around in a complex running drill known only to the runners involved.  

But we somehow managed to keep them all in one piece until we were allowed to enter that breathtaking space with its spectacular organ and co-ordinating floral arrangements.

Perspective is a wonderful thing.  I didn't squirm once throughout Speech Night.  I sang the national anthem and the familiar hymns, I listened attentively to the speeches, was informed by the various reports on school life and I was inspired by the reflections of the guest speaker - the very parts that sent me fidgetting as a student.  Just as well, really, because I have around a dozen more to attend in my lifetime!

One thing hasn't changed about Speech Nights for me and that is my love of a fast-food second dinner afterwards. 

McNuggets for the win!

Dec 3, 2019

The First Weekend of December.

A tribute to one of, if not, my absolute favourite weekends of the year.

It's the same but different energy that I live for every year.

One moment I'm sitting in the back garden watching the laundry dry as I sip my coffee ahead of tidying up the garden 

and then I'm off inside to open another drawer of my Advent calendar.

There's also the feeling in my heart that a celebration of some sort is never far away.  Making and baking for a celebration always puts a smile on my face.  Even if I still feel as if I'm racing against the clock and not quite sure if I've creamed enough butter because I was mentally 'one and halfing' a recipe while also taking photos of my progress for the 'gram....

These are the birthday boy's cupcakes.  Not at their most visually appealing stage but I was living my best life frosting them while in my activewear under the very flattering light of the morning in early summer.

Add Sour Patch Kids, dinosaurs and chocolate balls (which didn't quite make it from their bowl to the cupcakes) plus some candles and paper flags from Woolies and you get...

Hooray! Hooray! Hip!  You know where I was trying to go with here.

Archie Brothers is pretty close to perfect as a venue for a seventh birthday party.  The decor is circus themed but there was something for everyone in the prize and gift store.

Party options include an hour or so being let loose among the vast array of games.  Each guest receives a swipe card on which you collect points from each game you play.  Points are then redeemed at the front of house prize area.

We began the party at the Kissing Booth.  No actual kissing was required but we did get a great view of the dodgem cars.

Needless to say, it was pretty hectic when we went on Saturday morning.  But the curious thing was, it wasn't just due to groups of excited children celebrating various birthdays.  Lots of adults and teenagers were there too for a fun and different way to start the weekend.

Bowling was a huge hit with everyone, including yours truly.

Games that the birthday boy loved best included Simpson's Soccer and the K-Pop dancing machine.

In with the mix of typical fair games were more contemporary crowd pleased like lazer tag and those worrying (to me) point and shoot video games with graphics that look almost too realistic and would give me nightmares if I played.  I'm not sure what to make of the boys all being so seemingly unfazed by all the shooting they were doing....

Everyone was so thoughtful, friendly and helpful on the day.  It really made being the somewhat stressed birthday parent's day that much more pleasant. So much so that I bounced out of bed the next day, December 1 to be exact, ready to hit up my local Westfield ahead of the official store opening time.

After I'd started putting up the Christmas Tree for Master SSG and I to decorate over the rest of the day.

It's up.  The floor might still be a riot of Christmas related clutter  but the tree is up!!!!
Back to Westfield.  Our mission for the day was gifts for everyone at school.  I had a list of stores to visit and I was going in determined to see it all proceed like clockwork.  It actually wasn't as bad as I feared it might have been.  It was fun, even.

Lush is always a joyous place to start Christmas gift shopping.

The colour, the creative presentation of their products, the wit of the product names and labelling.  I've always loved shopping at Lush. It's been far too long since I was last in store.

Master SSG was fascinated with the shower gels.  They look exactly like the slime he loves but with the bonuses of not falling apart as easily PLUS offering pleasantly fragranced cleansing properties.  The sales staff on hand weren't entirely sure if other children have tried Santa's Belly (the shower gel!!) yet but I promised to let them know how we went. Here's the skim - bath time is now keenly anticipated and more water from the shower actually seems to stay in the bath rather than flood the surrounding tiles now that there is real purpose to the procedure.

Gift shopping isn't gift shopping unless you have a morning tea break halfway with your Haigh's samples!

Surprise, surprise!  It wasn't me this time that ended up with some 'gifts to self' while shopping for others.  This was the little guy's haul...

I felt I thoroughly I deserved that little drink of something as I bunkered down before lunch to supervise the card writing and gift labelling.  Who am I kidding.  This isn't Instagram.  The bubbles were mine, true but the writing and labelling were also all done by me too.

At the time, I was feeling confident that my handwriting would both pass the scrutiny of the teachers at school and not be instantly recognizable as doctor's writing but now that the bubbles have bubbled, I'm not so sure.....

How was the first weekend of December for you?

Do you write the cards for teachers too?


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