Wednesday, January 30, 2013


This is parenting in a way, in one image.  Your children reach a point where they start to rush on in front of you and you're left to try and keep up.

Leila is my baby and will always be.  Many have said the same before me, I am well aware of that, but she just is, my babe.  It's hard to watch her moving away, making her own path and walking confidently down it. I've said before that she's been a revelation to me, so different to her sister.  I've learned so much from being her mother, she's taught me how to be what she needs and I feel proud of how I mother her.

Time flies and it's hard to remember Ella's first day but that's another journey that is also moving too fast.

Today was a success.  She was happy after school, although tired.  She ate some food, though not much.  She went to the toilet "lots of times" and didn't lose her friends in the playground.  She made a new friend in the playground from another prep class, Abbey, and they found each other again at lunchtime.  She still wanted to cuddle with me on her bed, shared a freddo from the "Parental Survival Kit" and with her and Ella home again, all was right in this house.

I hope your little ones fared as well.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Raspberry, lemon and yoghurt cupcakes for the big girl.  Frosted sugar animal biscuits for the soon to be preppy.  New shoes at the ready, lunch boxes on the counter.

As with Ella we had dinner and gave Leila a watch for her first day of school, so she knows when it's time to come back to us.  She's super excited and that at least makes me happy.

Tomorrow Geoff will be home.  He's taking me for a massage and out to lunch, distracting me, as your lovely one tends to do.

Monday, January 28, 2013


I breathe deeper just looking at these photos.  A beach we had all to ourselves; aside from sharing it with the thousands of sand flies that rode on us, unbidden, the whole time.

 It usually takes us about three days to settle into a holiday.  If I'm totally accurate, Geoff and I relax into the holiday mode quickly, but we can't truly relax until the girls catch up, get familiar with their environment and stop the constant bickering!

We slept in late, waking completely only when both girls joined us in bed, where we'd draw or read for a while, or just chat until our tummies called.

We all rinsed off each day, but the girls only washed twice in a week.  Ella both freaked me out and made me proud in equal measure, body surfing and wave jumping adult sized waves with her dad.  We all witnessed firsthand the invaluable contribution of the SLS when we witnessed two rescues on a beach that turned unpredictable and was subsequently closed.

The girls wore free HWT Australia Day hats on the day, that smelt of steak....?

We shared another of our country's national holidays with dearest of friends who have a house nearby.

I enjoyed my shorter hair and last precious days before our babe becomes a school girl.

So, today, tomorrow and then a new life begins for all of us.  What a good time to have had a holiday and clear my mind.  Stay tuned as I morph into a mum with no kids at home!


Ella & Leila  A combined photo this week.  Love this shot - enjoying dad's phone.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


The garden is doing so well.  4 fennel, Green Zebra, Black Russian and Tomato Berries, blood plums and enough basil to make pesto for a year.

Monday, January 21, 2013


The girls went to the movies with Grandma today.  I picked a zucchini, some berry tomatoes and basil from the garden.  I flash fried the zuch with some garlic, tossing in the basil, tomatoes and some feta once the heat was off.  I sat in the garden reading my current book - which is wonderful - thinking life is good.  A new short haircut and some flattering new bathers (finally!) didn't hurt the state of mind either!


When I was growing up my mum had a friend called Sue.  They'd met when we moved to Melbourne and I attended St Agnes' Kindergarten in Caulfield.  She and her husband Gerry were from Liverpool and had resettled here, my own parents from Lancashire, so there was an immediate connection.  They had only one child, a daughter named Rachel.

The two families became close, sharing holidays and weekends together.  There are many photos of "happy" adults sharing a pewter goblet of wine, perhaps with a curry including sultanas, with unruly children running in the background.  As I mentioned Rachel was an only child and I, with three older brothers but a 10 year age gap between us, almost one myself.  We were firm friends.

Sue and Gerry had a blood plum tree and would deliver bag loads to my parents every year.  My parents were heavily into self sufficiency - it was the time of The Good Life, one of our favourite shows - and would preserve or convert anything edible into something. I recall plum wine, some of which self carbonated into a homemade sparkling.  There was jam and there was jelly.

Sue and Gerry divorced, the house with the plum tree sold.  He moved to Sydney and she bought a place down in Shoreham on the Mornington Peninsula and became a vegan.  Rachel started attending Toorak College in Mt Eliza and when we'd meet years later, we were strangers.

The friendship may not have lasted, but I remember them, fondly.  I remember them through plums.  Is that strange, is it any less worthy that it's talk of plums that triggers the thought?

I made a spicy plum sauce from our tree on the weekend - 3kgs of fruit yielded 8 jars of glorious ruby sauce, the recipe care of our dear friend Kate.   The tree has about another 3kgs on it, at least.  What next?

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Leila    Our golden girl
Ella      Our auburn beauty

Both on a lovely morning spent at Heide.

Friday, January 18, 2013


So much pleasure for less than $15.  A gift to me.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


The books I read during 2012.

  • A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin
  • A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin
  • Clash of the Kings by George RR Martin
  • Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
  • I feel bad about my neck by Nora Ephron
  • IQ84 by Murakami
  • Look at Me by Jennifer Egan
  • The Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  • The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster
  • The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  • We need to talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
  • Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
  • Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

I've recently discovered Goodreads, in fact only days ago, if you're interested feel free to join me.


Leila   "Mum can you please take a photo of me because I love how my hair looks".
Ella     I seem to have a mini theme going on here, a second shot of Ella completely absorbed - it is one of her lovely traits, losing herself in a medium.  Here focused on the holiday movie.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


It's finished and we've been using it on our bed.  It's the perfect weight for a summer quilt, with the Mathilda's wool/poly blend the perfect warmth for summer evenings when a sheet isn't enough.

Desley did a great job on the quilting and I can recommend her highly.  This quilt will be witness to lots of loving in the years to come and hopefully some of mine will think fondly of me when I'm no longer here, as they too warm themselves under it.

Friday, January 11, 2013


No prizes for guessing what dinner will be tonight - a summertime favourite here and with basil growing gangbusters, plenty of pesto for the freezer to hold onto the sunshine a little longer.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


My father read to me until I was almost in my teens, and still reads my mother to sleep most nights.  When Ella was a babe, toddler and preschooler, until she could read for herself, we did the same for her.   I have to admit that we haven't been as studious in our reading with Leila, we just found it harder to make time with the second.  It sounds like an excuse because it is really, but with everything else that is done after school, at times we've found it easier not to - aside from the guilt.

I'm mentioning this to you for a reason, possibly to help you alleviate guilt of your own.  Reading is such a big part of our lives, something we all get so much pleasure from that we decided probably about 9 months ago to a year that we had to find a way to fit it in, so I took a leaf from my dad's book yet again.

When I was working my parents would come here and mind the girls one day a week, cook their dinner and I'd arrive by 6 in time for bathing and so they could get home, mostly, before dark.  Their routine included mum cooking dinner, the four of them sitting down together (only the girls eating) and Pa would read books they'd chosen from the library earlier in the day.  This has now been our routine for quite some time.

Our girls eat around 530, but Geoff and I eat together after he gets home and the girls are in bed.  That therefore frees me up to read, over dinner. We read chapter books generally, the Magic Faraway Tree was a huge favourite and we read it twice in a row and have now just started the Narnia Chronicles with The Magician's Nephew.

The reading helps with another common family issue at dinner time - focus.  Our girls eat much more, concentrate on what is on their plate and there is no squabbling, because they're engrossed in the story.  I usually do at least two chapters and the meal is done, peacefully and I've read to my children.  Of course my girls may well be older than yours and it doesn't work if you're trying to eat yourself or having to fill spoonfulls to insert in little mouths, but keep it in mind, it works for us.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Harvesting our potatoes today made me think of Rohan and his gardening endeavours.  It also put me in mind of the Little House on Prairie books I love so much.  Spending six months of the year nursing and watching a crop of corn or wheat, waiting for it to be at its peak for harvesting and the night before the heavens open and crush it flat or the locusts descend and eat everything in sight, depending which book you're reading.

I had high hopes for our potatoes this year, invested only time and dreams, but still.  Tipping over those big bins today I really thought the potatoes would fall like golden nuggets at our feet.  Not quite.  The harvest was 816g of Jersey Royals, 965 of Desirees and a paltry 36g of Dutch Creams.  My idea of having potatoes to feed us through the summer were a little inflated.  We're fortunate that we can afford to buy potatoes to supplement us, but still, imagine if you were depending on your crops to feed your family or to earn money to buy what you need, heartbreaking.  That's part of why growing at least some of your own food is somewhat inspirational, the respect, the desire to avoid waste, the appreciation of flavour, you nursed those babies and you appreciate every mouthful as a result.

Monday, January 07, 2013


Back in November you may remember that I embarked upon a limoncello journey with Jo and Julia.  45 days passed at the end of 2012, but today I got around to topping up the delicious mix with sugar syrup.

When we added the zest I was a little over enthusiastic and put in double the amount of lemons to the girls and as a result my zest remained suspended over the next month and a half, I think because it simply had nowhere to rest, it was very busy in there.  I was concerned that I would end up with very little consumable alcohol, being that it had all soaked into the zest - which I may add you throw away at some point.

When I took the lid off today the smell was amazing, pure lemon oil, no soapiness, absolutely clean and so so fresh.  I added the sugar syrup and licked the spoon - WOAH, that stuff is strong, just one lick left me with a delicious warm chest.  It also now has that gorgeous milky quality that you see in the real stuff in Italy, it looks almost creamy and viscous.  This will be consumed in very small quantities when ready, so as not to destroy too many cells along the way.

I am now setting aside for another 45 days before filtering and then perhaps using all that delicious left over zest in a weekend, adults only lemon cake.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 06, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Ella:  Engrossed in the last of the Twilight books.  Her total absorption in a book, I'll claim that from my side of the gene pool.

Leila:  Checking an even distribution of sweets in her party lolly bags.  Serious business.

Friday, January 04, 2013


Phewee it's a stinker today isn't it, currently sitting over 40C.  Of course today was Leila's party, outdoors, in the park, in this weather, hence the red faces!

We brought the start forward as early as we could (9:15am) to try and avoid the worst of the heat.  Leila's request was to have a party with her friends, playing tiggy in the park with some cake.  Can't really argue with that, even given the weather, it's a pretty undemanding request.  My oh my it was hot and although they did run around for the first 45 minutes, they then crashed and were content to play chinese whispers and eat watermelon and icypoles.  One and a half hours went pretty quick.

A woodland cake was requested, and delivered.  It was cute, but it's tough when so many little friends are in the photos, I wouldn't dream of posting full face photos unless I'd discussed with the parents in question, so this was a snap I took at home thinking (rightly) that the buttercream would instantaneously self destruct when the sun hit it!  The cake's quite similar to last year, Leila's request - a woodland theme.  They always look better from a distance.

We'll bunker down for the rest of the day, hide from the sun, read our books, perhaps watch a movie, play with some new toys and just get through.