Jun 28, 2018

Lovin' Life 28/6/2018: Then Along Came The Sun.

Sun on a Saturday afternoon.  Chores ahead of schedule.  No place in particular to be.

The planets aligned for me over the weekend and I could tick all of the above.

And guess what I did with myself?  I popped out the back door into the garden and raked the lawn in my red gumboots, saggy mum jeans and diamond knit scarf.  I almost waltzed with the rake the sun felt so good.  Actually, why didn't I?  I was in the privacy of my own backyard, after all.

It had been a grey and soggy week leading up to Saturday.  Work had been crazy.  My usual smooth(ish) juggling act of keeping the balls of parenting, adulting, school, work, downtime aloft had slipped.  I'm this close to a week off with its mixed emotions of frantically tying up loose ends before saying 'ciao for now' while knowing that I'll miss all of this while I'm away.

So much going on and seemingly no simple way of finding calm in its midst.

Then along came the sun.

There's alot to be said for living completely in simple but good moments like this.

Jun 27, 2018

Urban Farm Life.

The Acre in Camperdown is one of my favourite 'urban farm' spaces in Sydney. 

I first visited it a few years ago when it first opened.  It's still hard to believe that this eatery / urban farm / community centre used to be a lawn bowls club.  The transformation feels more 'complete' now in that the vegetable patch is fully operational and vines have begun to grow with confidence around the wooden awnings that frame the main building.  Nature seems to have a slight upper hand over humans here and that's a good and rare thing in the inner city.

Master SSG is no longer the impulsive preschooler he was the first time he explored the play area but he still loved running his hands over the play boards.  The other thing that never grew old is the uncontrollable urge to tear around the common for as fast and for as long as he could.  My friends and I positioned ourselves at all the main exit points just to make sure we didn't lose anyone. 

On a Sunday as glorious as the one we had, exit duty wasn't as onerous as it could've been.

Behind the bar was this pizza oven that was working overtime to keep up with demand.  The heat from the oven also went a great deal toward taking the chill out of the sunny but definitely wintery day.

The only slight dampener of the day was how slow things in the kitchen were.  Granted it was a very busy afternoon but we had pre-booked the set menu.  It took around two hours for the adult meals to arrive.   Fortunately, orders for the children were taken early and their food came out pretty quickly.

I highly rate both the Bellini (surprise, surprise) and the fish croquettes.

While the wait for lunch continued, I took a stroll around the outdoor dining area.

The public library contained books for both young and old.

Trestle tables under umbrellas featured a tempting selection of cheeses from which you could design your own cheese board as well as baked goods to take home for later.

We snacked on the breadbaskets in between drinks.  Of course there were drinks plural.  It was Sunday afternoon, after all....

All the boys had fish and chips with bonus vegetables and fruit.

Staff were deeply apologetic at how long we had to wait for our meal and did all they could to accommodate us.

The roast chicken and chips were well worth the wait.

The pear and blue cheese risotto was surprisingly not my favourite dish.  It looked beautiful but just lacked a little something in the flavour department.

Along with the main restaurant, there's also a converted shipping container at the front which serves coffee, cake and snacks.

A section of the verandah just down from the bar where you can sit, eat and watch the world go by-  or your children tearing around along the perimeter of the fruit and vegetable patch as the case may be.

The stunning free-form cake in honour of my friend and host for the afternoon.

Before we knew it, our afternoon in the sun turned a bit chilly as the sun began to set.

It was time to round up the children and their belongings, rug ourselves up again and walk back to the inner city streets of Camperdown in search of our cars.  All under the watchful eyes of the Chesty Bonds guy....

Is there an urban farm close by to where you live?

Conversely, if your life is on your farm, how does heading into the city make you feel?  Invigorated by the change of pace and energy or not so much?

Jun 26, 2018

Wardrobe Eclectica.

There's one end of the built-in wardrobe in my bedroom that has an element of the mysterious to it.  I never really know what I'm going to find when I open the door and have a rummage around.  Spare party tablecloths, high-risk art supplies (high-risk because of the damage they could inflict if a five-year-old were to discover them and open them on his own) a spare pair of ugg boots with super sturdy soles.... 

I had a quiet Saturday afternoon the other week and the wardrobe was beckoning me. 

This is what I found...

My beige Kate Spade handbag that I thought I'd lost forever.  I bought it in New York a few years ago and the perfect occasion to use it never quite arose.  Now that it has emerged unscathed from the Bermuda Triangle of my wardrobe, the time to carry it would be immediately.

This beautiful deep plum coat from Jigsaw is one of the best things about winter dressing for me.  It hangs for most of the year, stroked every now and again by myself as I pass it over for more serviceable things like puffer and denim jackets but come late June, it really comes into its own.  Wearing it feels like a huge, comforting yet elegant hug.  It drapes just so and pulls together any work or dressy outfit. 

I know how this hard to find Smashers storage bus (which also features a fold-out playing field) came to be hidden where it was but I'm still struggling with the fact that I bought it off my own bat.  Master SSG is going to be stoked at the end of term on Friday which is when I plan to bring it out for him.

Last but not least in my wardrobe lucky dip is this packet of cardboard cut out from Kmart.  Kmart have totally nailed toys, arts, crafts and knick-knacks for several years now.   These dinosaurs are printed on a glossy card which was perfect for the high tech felt tips I had on hand.  I got creative and went disco with my dinos.  They all got manicures, dayglo eyeshadow and even some stick on pom pons.

This gold felt tip got quite a work out during our colouring-in session.  It's worlds apart from the Pilot brand gold and silver pens of my youth.  Do you remember them?  They had roller ball tips and you had to press it down to get the ink to release.  They also leaked gold or silver if you were a bit rough with them in your pencil case. 

The gold pens of 2018 colour like a normal felt tip and provide even metallic coverage without any leaks or blobs at all.  That's progress for you!

Do you have a corner of your wardrobe that's a treasure trove of eclectic delights?  What's the best thing you've found in it?

Jun 25, 2018

Life This Week 25/6/2018: Here and There.

Life this week looked like this. In no particular order.

Comfort food for a wintery Sunday night.  Roast chicken with all the trimmings is pretty fabulous but so too is a packet of Mi Goreng with bok choy, leftover chicken teriyaki meatballs and extra fried onion on top.  Both have their place in my kitchen on a Sunday night.

Fundraising at school this week has centred on the sale of these handmade cloth badges.  Master SSG has a collection of four and this is my favourite one.  It matches his Star Wars Kinder Suprise school bag charm perfectly. 
The optimum level of school uniform embellishment for Winter 2018.
It's been lovely seeing the badges pinned on school uniforms this week.  They've been vivid bursts of colour and shine in a sea of hides the dirt navy, regal but faded from the dryer gold and needing some Napisan white.  I've been trying to find out from Master SSG who made the badges and he has it on good authority that it's 'the person with all the glitter'. 

It was Aldi's famous wooden toys that starred in last Wednesday's Special Buys.  I was quick enough to get the espresso machine both for ourselves and as a gift.  Nothing like waking up (or should that be staying awake through the night on call from hell) to an Aldi espresso or two before a long day ahead at work.

It was just as well we started with the relatively low degree of self-assembly coffee machine because assembling the train accessory set sapped every ounce of my being Friday night...

But I got there in the end.

I was gifted this beautiful bouquet at work on Wednesday.  We don't always get to hear about what happens next but it was lovely to know that all is well on the outside.  I've taken them home and placed them in one of my special vases and they've given the kitchen table happy colour ever since.  I reckon that spoonful of sugar I added to the water contributed to the longevity of my tulips.  I could get used to an extravagant bunch of flowers occupying real estate in the kitchen on a regular basis...

I was a virtual attendee at team after work drinks.

And returned the favour with a visual from the front line of a weeknight after a long day of school and after-school activities.

Can't say no to iconic Bonds printed leggings and Wondersuits when out shopping for a special mum to be.

I've been good at the shops and remembered my to bring my envirobags the day after the plastic ban started at Woolies.  It's been great to see so many people get on board with the ban by bringing bags with them and also paying for a bag if they'd forgotten with good grace.

Look at me, by the way, and all those healthful things in my trolley.

Smashers (aka ridiculously overpriced collectible bits of YouTube famous plastic which don't hurt when you step on them which makes me kind of like them) have overtaken our house and many others around Australia if the bare shelves of Kmart (Top Ryde, Chatswood and Bondi Junction) and Hobbyco are to be believed.

To regain some semblance of control of the floor and my desk, I've invested in a couple of $3 Kmart tackle boxes (conveniently worm proofed) to house our growing collection.  So far Master SSG has paired up his Smashers with buddies and has only filled one box.  I can imagine that the second is going to be full by the end of the school holidays provided stock returns before then.

How's life been in your neck of the woods?


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