Dec 13, 2018

Lovin' Life 13/12/2018: This Week's Top Five.

This week I'm loving the following five things about life:

1.  Empty hangers.   

I was ruthless with my wardrobe culling efforts this week.  My wardrobe looks much less crowded and it's actually liberating having fewer things to choose from each day.

2.  Country Road.  

It's been decades since I've shopped there.  They lost me a while back when they stopped making suits and then again when they disappeared into a few seasons of non-descript sweats but I had time on my hands this week and with their 20% off sale, I was up for having a bit of a look see.

There were so many beautiful prints and also dresses that are going to be perfect for a summer spent in my bathers.

How fortuitous was it that I made all that wardrobe space over the weekend!

3.  Hotel toiletry samples.  

The school holidays have seen me slip into semi-holiday mode myself.  I'm in less of a rush in the morning.  I get myself a sneaky coffee from down the road just because.  I've recreated the holiday hotel room vibe in my bathroom with a selection of toiletries from the pile that I've amassed from my travels.  It's definitely making me feel a bit more glam and spoiled in the morning.  As a bonus, I'm making even more room in my wardrobe by getting through all those bottles.

4.  Homegrown basil.

The basil in the pots at my back door has really taken off and with such minimal effort on my part.  The only thing is, I suspect the possums have been helping themselves to the best leaves.  I'm determined to not let them get it all this summer so I've been eating my tomato sandwiches with a bit of basil.  The combination, with sea salt tastes of summer.

5.  This weather.

The early sunrises, the late sunsets.  The beautifully clear sun, the gentle breeze in the afternoon.  The warmth on your skin when you're in the sun, the coolness of the shade when you're sitting in it.

Love you, Sydney.

Dec 11, 2018

The Perfect Days of Summer Have Arrived.

The golden days of summer have arrived.

The days begin with daybreak over a kind of stage filled with possibilities.  A day on the water in your boat, walking languidly on the jetty, bobbing along in your favourite orange inflatable pool toy....

But of course, don't forget the sunscreen on your way out.  This SPF 50+ from Avene is pricey, (around $35 at Chemist Warehouse) but it so easy to blend into your skin and doesn't irritate it.  Most importantly, however, it's been highly effective on my pasty, sun naive skin.  Plus its orange bottle against the chambray of my favourite summer pull-on skirt?  It's an Instagram worthy snapshot of my summer wardrobe right there.

Summer weekends in Sydney are as much about the journey as the destination.  I get a smile on my face with a hint of smugness around the eyes as I edge the car out of the driveway and onto the main road and its traffic with the GPS set for places like the Greenwich Baths as opposed to driving to Westfield or to swimming lessons from memory.

I don't even mind that I have to concentrate hard to make the correct exits from the tunnel, the right lane as I drive along the Habour Bridge.  On days like this, the unfamiliar route and the traffic are exciting rather than onerous.

And then we are There. 

Picture perfect skies and the kind of beach that makes you feel like you're an extra on Home and Away ....

It's obligatory to accessorize for a morning at the baths with a pie and sauce.


Which you eat as neatly as possible while watching your little guy learn to paddle at a nippers class.

Afterwards, it's a drive back over the bridge for party #2 for my work Christmas lunch.  Meet my long term plus one - no bake lemon cheesecake topped with fresh fruit. 

For me it's an afternoon to kick back with the rest of the department and their families while for Master SSG, it's another opportunity for a swim.  His third for the day.

He ventured beyond the jacuzzi this year and braved the open waters on his own with a kickboard and a bubble floatie.

It's hungry work swimming all day but that plate of dessert was mine.  

I love summer.

Dec 10, 2018

Life This Week 10/12/2018: Share Your Snaps.

Disclaimer: they're mostly not about Christmas. 

Without further ado... the snaps that were.

A freshly chilled towel from the gym's vending machine because I forgot to bring my own from home.  I don't think it was intentionally sold as a chilled towel but it was in the same machine as the pre-mixed protein shakes and I can't imagine anyone drinking that stuff at any other temperature than very, very chilled.

I bit the bullet and bought myself next year's desk diary and calendar.  I forgot to get my wall calendar while I was at it, unfortunately.  Hope Aldi does a calendar special buy this year.  I've written the school holidays and my work roster on my desk diary already.  Having it all done now makes the pain of returning from the Christmas/New Year break (marginally) less intense.

Master SSG received this beautiful hand-painted card from his kindergarten teacher.  We will both treasure it forever.

Christmas gifting.  Didn't take me long, did it?  Anyway.  After a few false starts, I found my mojo this week and got all the nephews' gifts.  I feel a bit bad because I asked both sets of parents for gift ideas and then went rogue and bought whatever caught my fancy at Kidstuff (which has incidentally just canned its dollars off for points accrued scheme... not happy, Kidstff).

How amazing was this cloud formation as the sun rose over the bay on my Friday morning run?

Further on the theme of sun-inspired hues, I've made my first cheesecake crust of the season.  My attempt at being creative with Butternuts was an epic fail.  Morning Coffee and Marie biscuits produce a better crumb and because they're drier, they absorb melted butter rather than go gluggy in it like the Butternuts did.  Just as well I'm within walking distance of a Woolworths.

How good is the service over at The Iconic?  I ordered an emergency replacement pair of white Birki Madrids on Friday night and they arrived Saturday morning.  On free regular shipping and with a $20 discount thanks to a promo code The Iconic sent me.  Love your work too, Australia Post.

Fresh white Birkis and a Panama hat.  Together they will anchor many a look this summer, I reckon.

Guess where I was on Saturday morning?

With most of Sydney at The Grounds in Alexandria.  Where its default mode of being a foodie's wonderland was taken up a few notches to 'Christmas wonderland inspired by The Nutcracker and the Four Realms' mode.

We were there at 8.30am and it was already packed inside.

The boys sipped freshly squeezed fruit juices that were given The Grounds zhoosh (an actual word and its actual spelling!  I checked before hand) while I enjoyed a deconstructed mocha.

I was so grown up I did no even spoon out any of the chocolate inside the mug before mixing my drink...

What's your life looked like this week?  Have you a favourite photograph to remember it by?

Dec 6, 2018

Lovin' Life 6/12/018: Christmas in the City.

Christmas transforms the CBD.  It's still crowded and stop-start as a pedestrian but there's a little something in the air come December that seems to soften its heart and add some sparkle to its eyes.

Town Hall Station was festooned with green and red lights.  I was too busy keeping up with my little Santa to take a picture of them.

The light rail is still a work in progress but that didn't prevent it from getting dressed up for the silly season.

The Strand embraced a Festive Australiana look with giant, glittering gum nuts and gum leaves on display on the ground floor and also suspended from the roof.

Cheeky cockatoos perused the Christmas gift range at Westfield Sydney a few blocks down.

I can never do justice to the tree and rose covered gazebo that are the timeless focus of Christmas at the QVB.  Though at least you can get some idea of the hundreds of shimmering crystals that twinkle up and down the tree.

Master SSG had his annual chat with Santa inside the gazebo.  He was a natural this year and we have a lovely photo that's been sent out with Christmas cards to the family.

It wouldn't be a Christmas weekend in the city without suddenly needing dinner only to find that all the food courts close at 5pm.  That's my excuse for going to McDonalds at least.  Master SSG and I both had a cup of orange juice and I was instantly taken back to my weird pregnancy diet days where McDonalds OJ was the only drink that seemed to get rid of the metallic taste in my mouth so I drank it religiously.  It doesn't quite taste the same as it did back in the day.  It's more like cordial these days.

I know this isn't a pretty photograph but I have just discovered Maccas Loaded Fries.  They're basically French fries topped with fast food gravy.  They are so, so good and I am glad that they're a regular menu item.  I think these fries and an OJ will be the meal to get me through all the shopping trips I still have to do this Christmas.  I feel so underprepared this year.

Dec 4, 2018

The First Weekend of December.

The weekend just gone was very special to me.

It was, of course, the first weekend of December.  Where the weather is always perfect on the Saturday.  

And you've woken up to embrace it with a run after spending the night before dressed up in a Camilla kaftan reimagined as a shrug (thanks to a nifty knotting at its neckline) whilst sipping prosecco and nibbling at papadams and dhal.

December 1 is the day for finally being able to open a window or pull open a drawer of those advent calendars I bought way back in November.

The day's first cuppa was, of course, a mug of T2's Christmas Breakfast Tea.  I'm planning on adding a Dutch syrup waffle too as the weeks go by.  Slightly warmed and softened by placing said waffle over the top of the mug of tea as it steeps.

The official start of summer was also the motivation I needed to finally sort through Master SSG's summer clothes.  My current self is thanking my past self profusely for doing all that shopping at the outlets every time I go stateside.

I'm good for children's clothes shopping for at least the next couple of years thanks to my stash.

Master SSG rocked those lobster printed boardshorts at his 6th (!!) birthday party.

The chosen venue was Skyzone in Alexandria. Be warned, it does take a bit of detective work to find it if you're not familiar with that section of O'Riordan Street.  GPS systems will likely take you to a neighbouring property and you then have to drive behind to find the particular building that Skyzone is located at.  However, there is lots of parking and it is quite easy to navigate once you're there 

The staff were so wonderful in spite of the chaos of having so many birthday parties to host simultaneously.  They managed to supervise the children and keep the parties separated without too much fuss.  We had a few younger children in our group and they were looked out for by our party host too which I was very grateful for.  I was surprised that the little ones got into the trampolines with as much bravado as they did.  Neither batted an eyelid or hid behind their parents - they just went straight for it with the older kids.

You know a good time was had by all when there was no time to pose for family photos before the candles were blown out and the cupcakes shared out.  Fortunately, we managed to sneak in this one.

This sums up how the boys felt on the inside when it was time to go home and I suspect that more than one nap was taken on the drive home.  

And just like that, we are done for another year and I now have a nearly, nearly six-year-old in the house.

I can remember when those hands were chubbier and the mind that controlled them would make them tap along the surface of things like the ledge of a counter that could only be reached by standing tippy toed on the arm of a sofa or to explore the edges of boxes that might topple at any moment but were great for climbing all the same.  I remember when the games we played involved hiding under blankets or pretending to be on the telephone using pieces of Duplo and look at him now!

Speaking of looking at things.  This was the scene at the local shops on Sunday.  What kind of inebriated grinch would kidnap Reindeer #2?  Where did they take him?  Will he return in time for Christmas?

Be well.


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