It's Been A While....

Time just keeps getting away from me at the moment and the windows of opportunity to blog seem few and far between right now.  We're edging ever closer to a resolution to the home internet and phone line situation so I hope this means I'll be returning to regular blogging soon.

In the mean time, here's a recap on life over the last couple of weeks.

Over the course of  my move, I got to know the friendly staff at my local Kennard's really, really well....

I've emptied and returned all my packing cartons.  Kennard's have a handy deal where you get cash back on any of carton of theirs that you return to them.  It's a full refund for any unused cartons and a dollar or so for those you have used.  For me, it's not so much getting the money back but more a case of being able to deposit that mountain of cardboard in a place where it will be properly recycled.  Things are already pretty cosy in my council recycling bin as it is.

With all the boxes cleared away, the fun part of moving in has begun.  The fireplace is groaning under my collection of special things and plans are afoot to Ikea the wall opposite.

Vibrant art work on permanent display poolside at the lap pool.

The weather over the long weekend was perfect for hitting my new local pool.

The Cook+Phillip Aquatic and Fitness Centre sits in the shadow of St Mary's Cathedral (and under the watchful gaze of the Westfield Tower) in the city.

St Mary's Cathedral

One thing I have really enjoyed about this move has been the need to play tourist again in Sydney.

The Coke sign, King's Cross.

I've found myself a whole new set of landmarks to help me navigate the streets and suburbs surrounding the new 'hood.  I haven't gotten myself lost as often with this time round.  It must help that I've got both good GPS in the car and some pretty spectacular visual sign posts to help me along the way.

Rushcutter's Bay.

It's true what I've paraphrased, all roads do lead to Aldi.  Even the one that takes  you past Rushcutter's.

My trusty slow cooker's been playing up a bit lately and the bowl's badly scratched.  Couple that with the brief cool change in the weather we've had this week and it went without saying that I had to get this 3 in 1 slow cooker ($79.99) from Aldi on Wednesday.

While it doesn't have a timer or a browning function, it does have a handy set of three different sized bowls that can be used with the one base heating unit.  There is a single, universal glass lid.  It's also really easy to use.  Simply dial up your required heat setting then press the button corresponding to the size of bowl you're using and you're good to go.

The round cooking bowls are ceramic and an easier shape to wash than the oval versions.  The whole unit is also compact, light and looks the business on the kitchen bench.

I've been chewing through the data pack on my phone with photo heavy emails to locksmiths, electricians and gardeners.  Pictures being worth a thousand words and all.

I survived Busmageddon on Tuesday, when practically all bus routes going through the city were changed and diverted off George St to make way for the light rail.  I think the media were a little disappointed that it didn't end as badly as they had feared it would.  Were you badly affected by the changes?

It's still early days yet, but I've already made friends with some of the 'hood's most loved locals.

I had breakfast with this gorgeous man at Little Jean on the weekend.

In other food news, coffee from Balmain's The Little Marionette can be found on Bay Street at the Allegro Bar (a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by if you need a break from Cosmpolitan Shoes or Mecca Cosmetica).

With all this change in practically every aspect of my everyday life, it's been soothing to have some constancy in my world.  I'm still loving Nuxe's Huile Prodigiuese - my new bottle of it from Priceline says it for me too.

For my umpteenth bottle of Shu Uemura cleansing oil, I broke my routine repurchasing of the green 'Anti Oxi' oil for a bottle of ultime8 instead. It contains eight essential oils combined to give it (and hopefully my skin) the texture of cashmere and I also swear that it removes my makeup even more effortlessly than plain old non cashmere Anti Oxi.  Ultime8 is $125 for the big 450ml pump bottle from David Jones which incidentally is now cheaper than Strawberrynet.  I wonder when that happened...

And I reckon that brings the blog up to date with my life.

Have a lovely weekend.

Settling In.

Can you believe it?

It's been one week since I survived the house move.  I'm slowly getting into the groove of the new 'hood.  Bin collection days, locating the local branch of my bank and finding the closest thing the main drag has to a $2 shop (the back few racks of the old school hardware store just across from the Pet Barn).

I've also managed to engage in the 'hood's most favourite thing to do of a morning (besides grabbing coffee in active wear - couldn't resist adding the video to my post today) - getting my hair done. 

Turns out that the 'hood is Sydney's home of the Power Blow Dry.  Every second store seems to be a hairdresser and booking in for a Parlux is a bit like having a coffee - many salons offer a 10th service free.

One of my proudest moments spent exploring the local area was when I managed to not only find the nearest outlet of my gym but also got a parking spot just outside the front door.  Decked out with wood features and inspirational workout messages on the treadmills, it's probably the most zen gym I've ever trained at.  It's also one of the busiest too with most of the cardio machines and weight stations occupied by six in the morning.

I spent the weekend figuring out new bus routes.

And exploring the city from my new point of reference.

A dear friend flew in from Melbourne for the weekend so I met up with him for lunch in Potts Point.  Potts Point is one of those special parts of inner city Sydney to me.  It's basically a love child of the Sohos - New York and London.  I love the streetscape that's one part arty, one part heritage, another ultra modern and yet another ultra hip.  The locals are just as eclectic but also welcoming to boring out of towners like me who don't really get out much.

With dark, rain cloud laden skies outside, the natural choice for lunch was a Connecticut style lobster roll at Waterman's Lobster Company...

and lots of champagne and beer as we caught up on each other's lives.

With my last couple of 'me time' hours, I patrolled the nearest Westfield with a large Max Brenner in one hand - just like old times.

Some exciting news for the Givenchy fans....

Back at SSG Manor 2.0, we've managed to unpack enough boxes to reveal the kitchen floor and bench tops.

We also have a fridge, a Fisher & Paykel French door arrangement that's already wearing my fridge magnet collection.

I'm especially fond of the pull out drawers in the freezer. So easy to clean and to find things in.  I went old school with the dishwasher and got one configured with a cutlery basket rather than a fiddly (and hence annoying) cutlery drawer.

Various things have arrived in the post,

including my much anticipated 49 colour set of Faber-Castells from Indonesia (love the elephant stamp).

And I've also done my first Woolies online order.  These under bed storage bags are for me to make the best use of the only potential wardrobe space I still have at my disposal.

Other than that, there's not much else to report around these parts.  Hayfever is slowly sapping away at my will to live and I'm still without a landline or internet at home thanks to some crazy wire cutting that went down before I moved in...

Are you a cutlery basket or tray person?

Fan or not of online grocery shopping?

Moved In and Fridgeless.


We survived to tell the tale, Toddler SSG and I.  It was only a half hour's drive across the city but for all intents and purposes, we might as well have moved interstate or overseas.  I only ended up having to take one day off work but it's felt like I've been away for a week.  I'm also feeling a little jet lagged and disorientated.  Must have been from spending all my waking hours these last few days circling around a mass of boxes and furniture that looks like it's never going to fit into the new house.

Fortunately, my bed did fit into my room after all....  Appearance can be deceptive.  The wardrobe situation is whole other story.
We're still at the everything's here it's just in the wrong spot stage of the move which means I've lost my phone six times in the last couple of days, my car keys twice and my wallet once.

I was irrationally proud of myself for even making it to work on time this morning.  I was so on fire that I even had time to check on the first few online orders I've made to the new house.  Looks like my new iPhone made it to mine in good time through this morning's horrible weather and traffic.

The house is starting to feel like home.  The bath has been scrubbed and decked out with a new shower curtain.

There's also the reassuring smell of Dettol in the air.  I tell you what, that first steaming hot shower after a day spent moving was the best shower I've had all year.

And on the second day, we woke up, got dressed practically for a day on our feet and went in search of breakfast.  

One of the good things about being fridgeless is having to go out for breakfast on a weekday morning.  I had this very lively looking bowl of Chia seed Bircher muesli.

While Toddler SSG had butter and bacon.  The sourdough was there purely for decorative purposes as far as he was concerned.

I don't know if I have any really helpful tips for moving with a toddler.  The only bit of packing that worked out well for us was to have one set of bed linen, PJs and towels packed into a distinctive looking bag that can be easily found and differentiated from everything else that gets delivered to the new house. I also had a box that I took with me in the car filled with basic kitchen supplies as well formula and the nappy bag.

If you're going to be fridgeless for a few days - then don't forget the Esky.

Other than that, just be prepared that it's going to be long and tiring few days.  Enlist friends and relatives if you can to give you all a bit of a break and a chance to share the load.  My brother lent his time and a second car to make a final trip from the old house with things that the removalists couldn't take (fragile light fittings and unwrapped small electrical goods) and don't forget your real estate agents!!  They are a wealth of knowledge for reliable local tradespeople and builders who will be able to help with any unforeseen dramas relating to the move or settling into your new place.

And that's about all I've got for you today.  I'm off to try and put my feet up for the next few days and possibly finding some selfish, all about me things to do in the new 'hood.  I think this might involve overcoming my fear of my new local Westfield at Bondi Junction.

If' you're a Junction regular, any tips for young players?  Where's good for coffee?  It's a given that I'll be leaving my credit cards at home just in case I accidentally find myself in the spendy store section.

Have a great weekend!

The Year In Review, In September.

Prepare yourselves emotionally, fellow Offspring fans....

because Billie and Nina are going to be back for season 6 in 2016.

A new season of Offspring aside, 2016 is already shaping up to be all kinds of good and exciting things for me.  The new house, a new 'hood to explore (and hopefully blend into), travel and the privilege of being there as the three beautiful little boys in my life grow up - it's shaping up to being as dramatic, deeply human and unexpected as I hope Offspring continues to be.

It's going to be a that year that's a but like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, or that beautiful fuchsia flower (which I cannot identify with my very limited gardening knowledge and poor googling skills...) on the driveway after it's done nothing but pour overnight.  This year has been one of change, adaptation and constantly having to reorientate myself to my usually default direction of onwards and upwards.  As frustrating and as draining as this kind of year is, they are one of those necessary evils of life which I think make you look harder for and enjoy more intensely every good and beautiful thing that happens in your life.

Meanwhile, at the back end of 2015.  We have floorboards in the new place.  A whole house full of new and super shiny ones.  I'm meant to be popping by later this morning to air the place ahead of the move tomorrow.

Packing up my fridge magnet collection was the saddest packing moment of the weekend.  Putting my newest magnet on my trusty old fridge was the thing that made me feel I'd really arrived home in that first jetlagged day back in Sydney.  But now the fridge is leaving me for that junkyard in the sky.

The packing's progressing.  Not as fast I would have hoped and I'm filled with this sense of impending doom over not having everything done by the time the removalists roll up the driveway 0730 tomorrow.

I'm happy to report that I somehow won the game of lids and bottoms on the freezer container shelf.  Everyone got paired up with their better halves before getting packed up in yet another packing carton.

Not quite as romantic (or as cheesy) as The Bachelor Finale (which I'm afraid, kind of, that I missed) but satisfying all the same.

One of my nephews (and his parents) came to visit on Saturday which was all the reason I needed to do some baking for the last time in the SSG Manor kitchen.  I went out with a bang and used this Dutch Apple and Cinnamon cake mix from Aldi.

Toddler SSG was on hand for the vital last step of stirring in the fresh apples and cinnamon sugar at the end.

As well as for the washing up.  I wonder how long this 'helping' phase is going to last?  Forever would be nice...

Four eggs and 175g of butter makes for a very rich and most cake.

The cinnamon sugar had a perfect balance of cinnamon and apple.  I'm going to be stocking up on this cake mix the next time it appears at Aldi.  I'm even willing to risk my life on the precarious stairs and parking situation at my 'new' Aldi next to the train station on New South Head Road.

Had the privilege of meeting up with C for coffee on Sunday.  The planets have been so hard to align for catch ups with friends these days and I'm hoping that I've entered a new phase where I'll be able to actually meet make some dates with the lots of other people I've been thinking of but embarrassingly, haven't had time to catch up with.

September't not even over and I'm already putting this year to bed!

I blame the major retailers and their early arrival of Christmas merchandise.

Have you got an early call on how 2015 was for you?


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