Jan 31, 2021

Just A Little Type On A Sunday Afternoon.

We still have the sand.

Grains of it still pepper the floorboards and find their way to the soles of my feet as I pad around the house getting ready for the day ahead.  I feel it on my forearms from the yoga mat as I begin yoga practice before bed.  It's still caked on the mini surfboard in the boot of the car.

Aside from the sand, life has been business as usual.  Taking up from where we left off before Christmas last year.

School is back.  In lace-up shoes.  Whose toe boxes haven't been scuffed down to under the dyed layer from that mysterious walk that kindergarteners are wont to do.  Do they actually catch their feet under things on purpose as they walk?  Or do they bust out a bit of a crawl just for the fun of it during mat time in class?  Whatever the reason behind them, I'm so glad the days of scuffed toe boxes are behind us.  New school shoes each term was not fun for anyone involved.

The emptiness of this corner fills me with joy.  Until this morning, it housed the things awaiting council bulk rubbish collection.  It's now all on the verge awaiting collection tomorrow.  I'm still gazing in adoration at it now, from where I'm sitting having this little type.

You know how I have this fascination with recipes involving French Onion soup packet and cans of condensed soup?  Well, now I don't have to choose between them because this No Peek Chicken recipe combines them both.  Be warned it does get a bit salty on account of all the soups but it's such an easy recipe to pull together and it's one of those all in one (as in carbs and protein both accounted for) recipes the oven cooks for you.

Don't forget the fresh herbs and a lovely white instead of water for the rice.  You're welcome.

I've had a glass of what I was cooking with and I have a new box of Mecca Beauty Loop samples.  The stage is set and I am recharged for the busy week ahead.  On the subject of beauty samples.  Pillow spray that's meant to help you sleep.  The idea of spraying your pillows lovingly as you drift into your bedroom after an evening of unwinding and unburdening.  Really just at the idea stage for me right now but it's the thought that counts....

What will probably be my reality this week is breakfast as dinner at least one night of the working week.  Scrambled eggs are so easy on the stomach, they're bound to help a person sleep, even if they are eaten after 8pm.

I'll leave you with this photo of my Lego flowers.  Credit to Master SSG for his Lego assembly skills.

Are you rested and ready for the new week and month?  As puzzled as to how the year is already flying by?

Jan 26, 2021

Beach Days. Farewell, Target.

It's been quite a week.  

So much so that my poor little brain tried to enter the supermarket car park with my work swipe card.

And the champagne de-corked itself with such precision and force that the cork landed in the middle of the vegetables I'd just cut to go with my mid week packet of Mi Goreng.

Even my carrots were struggling this week.  Can you imagine limping through the day with that much leg length discrepancy?

All I can say at times like this is ....

 thank goodness for the beach.

Because a solid series of mornings at the beach makes everything better.  I've always enjoyed a walk on the beach every now and then but this summer, our visits have seen us become more interactive with the water.  

There are two pontoons in the swimmers' area at our local beach and we've swum to both.  One of us has dive-bombed from both while another of us has wiggled around a bit on the decking before somewhat elegantly sliding back into the water instead of diving.  

The humble boogie board has been the MVP of our beach mornings.  It's given Master SSG a bit more confidence to paddle out into the water while having the board on hand has helped me keep him safe after he does a bombie or if he needs a break between swims.  Might get myself one as well for next summer.

Flip-flopping your way from sand to snacks is one of those simple joys of beach life.

And your reward for making it up all those stairs after all that swimming?  Being spoilt for choice in the icy pole department.

In less sunny news, we have a date.  Which means we have closure.  Bricks and mortar Target stores around the country are being closed to make way for KMarts.  For me, March 20 is the day I say goodbye to one of my most loved shops at the local Westfield.  

Despite being a (very) active online shopper, shopping Target online just isn't the same as going in-store.  For years now, Target has been the shop everyone in the family is happy to visit together.  The prices have been fair (bordering on 'such a steal!!' territory), the quality agreed upon as good to very good by all generations present, the style on point and guaranteed to work well with things you already have at home. Plus, it's just easy to navigate the wide walkways and well-spaced racks of goods and clothing.

There's the thrill of finding that yellow clearance sticker on something you were thinking about just the other week.  You've now been pushed over the line to place it in your red basket.

Elsewhere, Dannie Minogue's Petites and the regular workwear ranges can always be relied upon for budget-friendly pieces that both fit and wash well.  It's amazing how hard it is to find plain tank tops with enough coverage to wear to work in stores these days.  And to find them for under $15?  Only at Target.

I know March 20 is ages away but I'm glad I've already managed to do my 'farewell shop'.

Is your local Target closing?  Planning to head in to find one last yellow clearance sticker before it does?

Jan 16, 2021

The First Week Back.

Bunches of ombre blue roses to all those who've also survived their first week back at work.

Mastering the route to a different vacation care program and car line on that first Monday morning commute was a special adventure on its own.  The upside was that by the time I reached the work car park, there was no time for any back to work blues.  I was high on the adrenaline rush that came with the successful completion of the morning's special mission.

Blu Tak is just one of those back to work essentials.  Even in our allegedly paperless workplaces.

I was obviously late to the Blu Tak restock party because all that was left when I finally remembered was the dayglo rainbow packs.  Not that I'm complaining.  There isn't an office wall that couldn't benefit from a few artfully placed blobs of hot pink or orange Blu Tak.  Harmoniously wedged in between the new wall art from last year's school art portfolio, of course.

Of course, the weather would decide to get all summery the moment I had to head back to work.  Silver linings - air conditioning at work and oodles of ice cubes at home with which to make 'DIY with Moccona because it's too hot to wait at a cafe' iced lattes with.

Glad we managed to get in a round trip on the ferry and sky train to the zoo all the same.

It's always the way how it only takes days back at work to get that slightly overscheduled, need a moment to myself feeling back.  

My first 'moment' of the year happened in front of the deodorant at Woolies.  I was alone and fellow customers were thin on the ground because it was that window in the afternoon between lunch and after work.  The quiet.  The stillness.  The space around me.  The not having anything to do but breathe and pick one.  Thank you, planets, for aligning to create that particular moment.

School's back in a fortnight and with that will be another kick up in the overscheduling and the busyness.  I'm hoping to keep the shutters pushed open each day so that I can throw open the double doors to let nature and the memories of our little holiday at home this summer.

Be well.

Jan 9, 2021

It's Time. Lasagna. Local Activewear Labels.


It's time.  I'm having hot cross buns for breakfast in early January and I derived great pleasure on Friday morning in fixing the latch on the front gate with my own hands using odds and ends hardware I had stashed away for odd jobs such as this.

It's been just on three weeks of deeply relaxing, pottering around doing not much at all staycationing and I'm ready to head back to work on Monday morning.

When you've done such a thorough job of raking the lawn it higlights the dead patches  in the process.

The highlights of this go slow reset have been about something I've come to appreciate more and more as I approach the second half of my fabulous forties.  We've found joy in the little things around us.  I've also created space.  Literally as a result of a staged clean out I've done of the house over the last few weeks and also spiritually as the new order in my surrounds has worked its wonders on me.

But we're all about the visuals and accompanying text on this blog so I'll get back on track now.

If you haven't made Recipe Tin's Lasagna and Garfield's favourite food is your thing - what are you waiting for?

via Google images

While Garfield is American and hence likely to favour the ricotta cheese sauce way of doing things, Nagi's recipe features a bechamel sauce made with a roux, milk and cheeses such as paremesan and mozzarella (your choice).  The ragu is well worth the effort, mine was on the stove for close to 2 hours by which time the mince was so very tender.  Nagi's tip of alternating the way you lay down the lasagna sheets (horizontal then vertical orientations for example) really does help the lasagna to keep its structural integrity as you cut it.

Me being  me, I soon found things to fill the space I created in the great declutter.  The French Beauty Company is an Australian based etailer that brings the best of French beauty to your doorstep without the taxes and delays of ordering from European based sites.  My order arrived beautifully and securely wrapped with an abundance of samples as well.

Yes, I really did order four bottles of Nuxe's Huile P in the Florale fragrance.   That very same Huile P from that Monoprix in Paris I visited way back in October 2019.  Fond memories of simpler times and seizing the opportunity to visit when I did.  I remember being just a little anxious ahead of my trip because of the political tensions in France at the time but my anxiety proved to be unfounded.  Especially in the context of the way the world beyond our shores is at the moment.

Of course I bought activewear during this staycation.

The Fast Times Short from Nimble is one of my finds of the season.  They're comfortable, flattering, well made and I love the prints Nimble release.

Via Nimble

Between Nimble and Two Tags, the future of my activewear wardrobe is bright.  Which is a relief because I think I'll be wearing activewear as going to work wear for quite a while longer.

via Active Truth

Special mention also to Active Truth a size inclusive brand I've just discovered after hearing lots of rave reviews from fellow running and activewear enthusiasts.  The range also includes maternity and compression styles.  I bought these bike shorts as my first foray into the range and love the high and supportive waist (even in this non specialized style).  Again, there are lots of beautiful prints in Active Truth's range and it's always great to be able to support an Australian label that uses models that represent the range of their customer base.

We had our gum boots and raincoats out for most of this break as we went about our business on this go slow, low key staycation.  I've just given the boots a wipe down and put away the rain coats now that they've dried.

And wouldn't you know it?  The forecast for the week ahead is blue skies and a return to proper summer weather.

Just in time for my return to work.  Oh well.

Jan 6, 2021

Crystals, Day-Glo and Ecosa Pillows.

Staycations are here to stay by the looks of things, Sydney.  With border closures and international travel requirements in a constant state of flux - staying in place just seems like both the right and least stressful thing to do right now.

My fellow Sydney-siders have done the city proud and together we've accepted our fate with good grace.  I was at our local Westfield the day after mask-wearing was made compulsory for indoor activities throughout Greater Sydney and everyone I saw was dutifully wearing their face mask. In addition, we all checked in with the Service NSW app when required and kept our distance from each other inside.  I feel for the food, beverage and retail businesses out there as they struggle to comply with the rules, keep their outlets adequately staffed for both their original business as well as the new Covid related roles of more frequent cleaning plus face the challenges of slowdowns in the delivery of their stock and supplies.  Hopefully, wearing masks keeps everyone safe while allowing businesses to remain viable and keep their staff on.

We've gardens of all sorts growing at home.  The terrariums are still very much alive.  The aisles of KMart delivered this $10 underwater crystal garden to the dining table and we've enjoyed watching our crystals grow, seemingly by the hour.

Day-Glo blue and green seem to be the official colours of this staycation.

Slime made with glittery Elmer's Glue is so 2020 (thank goodness).  2021 appears to be the year of Zuru Bunch O Balloons.  This nifty launcher gives accuracy to wayward throws and ensures your balloon hits its target (a tree stump in our case) with a satisfying thwack before this splat.

All sorts of challenges have been accepted and achieved.  Master SSG can now tie shoelaces (using my trainers as practice).  A whole new world of shoes awaits him now.  Just in time for the new school year.

After a few tears and lots of unpicking, I'm well on the way to mastering the Bulgarian crochet stitch.  It was dayglo green to the rescue again because I think adding a few rows of stitching in this superhero colour has given my throw a bit of definition.

Flitting back to 'back to school' for a minute.  Did you know that denture cleaning tablets work a treat on drink bottles?  They're especially useful for the kind whose tops are a combination of stainless steel, plastic and rubber because the tablets clean everything effectively without risk of damaging any of the components.  

And lastly, this staycation has given us the gift of good pillows.

Ecosa make only one kind of pillow and it's a winner.  It comes in a reusable vaccum pack which you can use to take it traveling (when it's eventually possible to be a Sydneysider to do so again).  After the pillow inflates fully, simply unzip the back of the protector and add as many of the included inserts as you need.

The pillows do look larger than standard pillows but don't worry, Ecosa make deliciously soft bamboo bed linen to match your new pillows.

Only a few days left of leave for me.  I'm off to take up where I left off.  

See you in a bit.


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