Nov 30, 2017

Lovin' Life 30/11/2017: The Nearly Christmas Highlights Reel.

There's something definitely in the air right now.  I think it's the joy, relief, and anticipation that December is just around the corner: bringing with it week after week of time with loved ones and a much needed slow down in pace.  It's also big bill, or more accurately every big bill I have time but even opening those envelopes has failed to rain on my almost Christmas parade.

But back to the unexpected joys of this last week or so....

It's been an extremely busy and chaotic winter for us at work and a long one too.  We unofficially called its end around mid October when numbers got less crazy.  As a little thank you in recognition of us all not completely getting tipped over the edge by the workload, we were treated to morning tea during the week.  A coffee cart and array of pastries somehow managed to fit into the lift up to our department's offices and set up to serve us in the main corridor.  It was a lovely surprise and something we all appreciated.

In another sign that the tide of busyness has finally turned at work, I got to eat lunch at 12 noon on Friday!   If that's not worthy of sharing to Instagram then I don't know what is.

Preschooler SSG loved his lunchbox program so much that I've been persuaded to continue making them for him.  He's taken to shopping for healthy additions to his lunchboxes with zeal.

I'd also like to take the opportunity to thank my ever expanding circle of mum friends.  They're always at the end of a text message to answer such pressing questions as 'are these (insert photo) the strawberry biscuits you packed for lunch today?' and 'do we need school bathers for term 1?'.  I hope when we're all settled into the new year to be able to ask more useful questions like 'free for a coffee this morning?' or 'is it wine time yet?'.

The weather's been mostly lovely, on my days off even.  Cue gelato with sprinkles for afternoon tea.

How could I walk away from a Priceline 40% off beauty sale?  Especially when their Randwick store had the gift sets I was looking for?  I've been planning to replace my current dying collection of work lip colours for some time now but couldn't decide whether to splurge on a few spendy items or go for cheap and cheerful with NYX.  Thank you, Priceline, for forcing my hand.

Now I and any colleague in need will never be without the perfect nude lip at work.  It's just a shame I can't improve the presentation of my stash a little.  Everything looked so perfect in the packaging with all the colours set out by colour tone.  Now they've all been unceremoniously dumped into a spare cardboard box and stashed in a desk drawer.  Should I get an acrylic organizer for them, I wonder?  Would it be too much for a work desk in a non-beauty related field?  Quite possibly.

And to finish off?  A beautiful way to say thank you.  I got to use my new Orla Kiely note cards for the first time this week.

Are you looking forward to December?

Have you noticed that the world is slowing down and smiling a bit right now?

Nov 28, 2017

The Weekend That Was.

It's been one of those weekends.  

The kind which was wall to wall happy people and places and also the kind where the start of the working week was possibly more restful than the days that preceded it.

Friday night after work saw us embrace the spirit of adventure and take a peak hour train into the city to meet my brother and his family who were visiting from Perth.  The CBD was wall to wall people and it took some getting used to as we ordinarily only visit on Sunday afternoons or in that 2pm weekday lull you get in the retail and eating areas.  But it was a happy crowd of workers celebrating the end of the week and families enjoying the warm evening and its daylight saving given light.  The stores were all decked out for Christmas and Friday night was the first time this year that it didn't all feel too early and commercial.

A quick walk through Myer's Giftorium was followed by the cousins exchanging gifts before we shared a quick dinner.

Saturday morning was a gift.  The dawn was just warm enough for running without an extra layer or long sleeves.  Change was also in the air because I didn't have an almond croissant or a sultana and custard snail for breakfast afterward.  Readers, I had cinnamon fruit toast with peanut butter and honey instead.  And it was delicious.

We went to the first of the weekend's birthday parties for Preschooler SSG.  The birthday girl was an especially close friend of Preschooler SSG with the pair forming a solid trio with another boy.  It was a morning of art, dancing, fairy bread and the limbo.  So pretty much a perfect morning for five and nearly five year olds.

I got festive for lunch with some craisins in my salad and in my Aldi chocolate.  I'm trying my hardest to stick to my normal meals for as long as I can before it all goes on hiatus for Christmas / New Year / Preschooler SSG's Birthday.  I think I'm going to last another couple of weeks at best before dessert starts getting eaten three times a day and I add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to my mug of Moccona....

Until then, I'm on the champagne and sparkling weekend diet.  I'm still not quite sure how I ended up with this stemless flute of Chandon and Orange Bitters  on ice with a twist of orange rind in my hand while I raced around Woolies and after Preschooler SSG but I did and I'm glad I tried it because it's going to be drink of the summer.

Both my brothers and all my nephews dropped by Saturday afternoon and we celebrated with a superior cheese board assembled at short notice from what I bought after our family Dan's run.  It's all coming back to me.  That's how I got my tumbler of Chandon and Orange Bitters....

This was our star purchase and we enjoyed it over a leisurely afternoon in the backyard doing such things as making sure that there was fair access to the wheeled toys for all

as well as ensuring that board games were allowed to be played to the best of a person's ability based on their age and not on the expectations of one pedantic nearly five year old.

It warms the heart and restores the sleep deprived soul watching your nephews play with the toys your own little one loved with all his heart once upon a time...

But it's not the chief duty of the hostess aunty to get misty eyed and rose coloured Snapchat filtered about the past.  No, her chief duty is to ensure the little ones are fed before witching hour.

Preferably with a dish that both young and old will enjoy because it can take until adult dinnertime to feed a two-year-old.  Noodles, it was then. My first attempt at making Malaysian style fried mee hoon (vermicelli) from scratch, to be precise.  The trick when frying fine noodles like this is to pre-soak in cold water for 5 or so minutes, drain and then place in a bowl to which you add your sauce ingredients.  This way, the noodles get evenly coated before they get fried.

If your youngest guests quietly dig in with both hands and cutlery before wearing your noodles as a kind of mustache then you know those noodles tasted good. 

Sunday lived up to its name in magnificent fashion.

That sky was all it took to convince me to dust off this beach casual shirt dress.  Or at least it was a dress that one time I tried it on the J Crew outlet a couple of years back. Commonsense prevailed and I slipped on a pair of white skinnies before we left the house.

We were off to our second fifth birthday of the weekend.

The theme was science and I was amazed at how engaged all the preschoolers were with their teacher for the afternoon.  Each child listened, followed the instructions, waited their turn and had so much fun in the process.

Unmeltable snow was made, as was red slime and various empty plastic water bottles were rocketed up into the air, over the fence, onto the roof or into the food table... using nothing but water, bicycle tyre pumps and lots of preschooler energy.

And then science got both delicious and dramatic as vanilla ice cream was made in front of us in a matter of minutes.

There was plenty for everyone.

Silence descended on the party as cones of ice cream were devoured.

There are weekends like this that I wish could just last forever.  The weather, that languid feeling of it being so nearly the end of the year, family, friends old and new, the laughter, the precious moments and that strange but not unpleasant feeling of being more connected to the rest of Sydney than I ever thought I'd be.  Six degrees of separation?  At times, it feels more like two at the most.  And in the most unexpected ways as well.

How long did it take you to suddenly find yourself more connected to your adopted city or town?  Did you find children played a big role in forging your connections?


It's official.  

via PopSugar
These two lovebirds are officially engaged with their wedding scheduled to take place in the spring of 2018.  

via google images
There's a beautiful story behind Meghan's ring with two of its diamonds once belonging to Princess Diana and the central stone coming from Botswana, a country close to Harry's heart.
I suspect my friends in the UK know me too well because I have a feeling that they'll be posting 'on the ground' photos to my Facebook in coming days.  And I might just start buying The AWW again in the new year.  And the official Australian Mint commemorative coins. 

Might need to start thinking about snacks, drinks and attire for the big day too.  Meghan, you have a year to allow the media to create a retail frenzy over your personal style so that I can have something to be inspired by.

Do you love a royal wedding?

Nov 27, 2017

Life This Week 27/11/2017: Best Birthday(s) Ever.

The best birthdays I've ever shared began way back on December 31, 2012. Preschooler SSG was born at around 10.45 pm and since then, New Year's Eve has meant more to me than fireworks and glasses of champagne.  I reflect on the last year of Preschooler SSG's life and how we've both changed and grown.  Each birthday is a little different from the preceding one in terms of its cake or the venue of the celebration but however we celebrate, we're always surrounded by family, friends and laughter (for at least some of the day) and the occasional tear (thankfully there are less of these as we both get on a bit in age).

I remember the day Preschooler SSG was born and how the world seemed to suddenly shrink down to just the two of us in our hospital room.  I had no idea what I was doing as a first-time mother and he had no idea what this crazy place was that he'd suddenly been thrust into.  To a soundtrack of soothing white noise from my iPhone and the occasional prompt from our midwives, we somehow got through those first five days together.

Birthday Number One was celebrated at home with a group of fellow graduates of the 'we made it through the first year' school of life from my mothers' group.  The house was pretty much stripped of anything potentially breakable by then because Preschooler SSG was both an early walker and a very capable climber.  The baby gates were his nemesis and he hated his cot which seemed to cramp his rolling while asleep style.  So he often took his naps on a mattress in the family room that was close to the ground.  Wish I'd known this before I'd invested in the cot I thought he'd use from birth to the age of four....

It was lovely seeing all our friends and it was probably the only birthday where us parents were able to still have relatively long and uninterrupted conversations with each other over our children who hadn't yet learned to speak, tantrum or get into too much strife in an enclosed space.  We managed to last about an hour and a half before Preschooler SSG decided it the party was over which he declared with a loud and lengthy squawk-cry.  His guests joined in the chorus and they were all whisked away for a solid hour and a half nap in their respective car seats.

Birthday Number Two fell in a period of peak 'Terrible Twos' activity.  All I remember is constant movement, intense emotions and a trail of wrapping paper and food that seemed to follow Preschooler SSG wherever his little feet took him around the house.

Birthday Number Three was celebrated twice which I think will become a tradition for us due to Preschooler SSG's birthday falling in the middle of school holidays and being a major holiday/cause for celebration in itself.  As three-year-olds, he and his guests were now starting to play with each other and were able to take turns at some party games and a treasure hunt I'd organized at home.  

New Year's Eve began with some birthday cupcakes shared with my parents who were in Sydney to help us celebrate.

Last year's fourth birthday party was great fun for young and old.  We went from wall to wall Thomas to wall to wall Toy Story...

plus a table of food and drink for the parents. 

One of my favourite parts of Preschooler SSG's birthday parties (besides the champagne and cake) is the chance to catch up with the beautiful people I've gotten to know through Preschooler SSG.  We're all often rushing from one place to the next when we do drop offs and pick ups so there's often not much time to get to know each other.

Birthday Number Five will soon be upon us and preparations have begun.  We will be celebrating at a play centre this year which will be a lot less work for me but at the same time, I do enjoy the decorating and frenzy that leads up to parties at home.  We've got around three weeks to go but I'm bracing myself for the noise, energy and high emotion that I'm sure will be big features of the day.  I'm also meant to be making a cake, the theme of which is currently changing on a daily basis.  Watch this space.

Do you have a favourite birthday of your own?

As a parent, do you find each birthday of your children to be the best ever?

Nov 24, 2017

On Almost Being A First Year Of School Mum.

'The days are long but the years are short'
An observation that keeps me going when we get in the door on Mondays around 6.45pm with cute hopes of making it into bed by 8.


'Everybody is fed, nobody is dead'
Just some of the wise words of Hurrah For Gin.

Also true.

I'm heading into my final few weeks of being a preschool mum and also the last of 'our' Thursdays together before my preschooler heads to Big School next year, five days a week.  I haven't really thought that hard about it until now but the as we get closer to December, there is a sense of finality to this routine we currently have.

'Our' Thursdays are lovely in that we get a sleep in before I attack the housework and Preschooler SSG either helps or plays with his trains around the housework.  We then wander down the road for a coffee before starting the rest of our day.  Thursdays are often busy for us which leads to battles of wills and frayed tempers so I do try and make sure we both have some kind of quiet time during the day.  However the day pans out and whatever contrasting high emotions we may be feeling simultaneously,  we're in it together and have to get through it together.

Another thing that's accelerated my thoughts about all the change that kindergarten will bring is the fact that we went shopping for school uniforms yesterday.

We took the scenic route to the uniform shop as I managed to get lost once again on the third of three attempts I've now made to drive to a school that is five minutes from home.  The good news is that I got to explore some really beautiful homes (objectively, some of them are mansions...) along the way while also accidentally finding the official school drop off point which is a street behind the junior school street address.

Preschooler SSG was excited.  So excited that he refused to face the camera for those all important first uniform photos for the grandparents and aunts and uncles so here are the back views of his summer and sports uniforms for term 1.  It took just over half an hour to purchase these uniforms.  Firstly, a certain person decided to lock the changeroom door from inside and slide out from under the locked door after each change.  There was also a lot of wriggling but we got there.

Those blue and gold Ikea bags are perfect for uniform shopping because they not only fit a whole term's worth of clothing but they're also easy to carry on the trek you need to make on foot back to the lucky car space you found on a distant street.

School uniforms have changed so much in the last decade or three.  All items of clothing now seem to feature spaces for names to be stamped (if your handwriting is as appalling as mine) or written in.  No sewing!  No ironing on!

This is my trusty laundry stamp that I purchased earlier this year but you can find to order over here.

I had heard rumours that the kindergarten uniform was not only virtually indestructible but that if you had the foresight to use your dryer on it, ironing would be redundant.  Do you reckon that's because it's Teflon coated?

Will you be joining me in being a first time First Year Of School mum in 2018?  Have you stocked up on waterproof mascara and polished your largest sunnies yet?


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