Weekend of joy

1.  Laughing with Donna & Ella
2.  Play time with my honourary niece
3.  Brown paper packages tied up with string
4.  Kylie using her best primary teacher voice to read a most inappropriate book ;)
5.  Sheels cutting her tall cake…
6 . The surprise inside – rainbow layers of awesomeness!
7. Dumpling dinner
8. Aroma Festival
9. Gingerbread men
10. Love letters from friends
11. A jar of origami stars from Sheels – she wrote a  beautiful quote into each one before she folded them up for me

My soul  is all filled up. In fact, I think it might be overflowing!

The lovely people

I’ve seen most of my favourite people this week and that makes me very, very happy.

Brunch on Saturday with Josh, Kel & Cooper
Lunch at Tim & Juanita's on Sunday = play time with Mabel & Milly
Dinner club on Tuesday with Mr & Mrs Williams
Wednesday night with Lis (and The cat in the hat)

Bookmarks of cuteness

Some people talk about how socks strangely disappear in their homes. Two go into the wash, only one comes out.

At the Jackson residence, it’s book marks that we lose on a regular basis. I am convinced that Ian is responsible for this as he regularly ‘borrows’ my book marks and then never gives them back. I’m hoping that one day when we move out of our flat, that a huge pile, lost over the years will suddenly turn up.

The book mark below is one I’ve been deliberately hiding from E when I’m in between books. This one is too cute to go missing! Leigh & David bought it for me in Tibet (or possibly Nepal) and every time I look at it I feel happy. Those cute little feets, sticking out my book – it’s just too adorable!

 I also really love the look of this bookmark which I saw on pinty.

I guess we could just dog ear our books and not have this problem….but I could just never bring myself to do it. It feels like such a mean thing to do to a book, don’t you think?

Happiness is…

  • Cream cheese frosting
  • When the radio is psychic
  • Regina Spektor
  • The internet
  • Clean sheets
  • Beautiful stationery
  • Mexican food
  • Golden retrievers
  • My sister by blood and my sisters by soul
  • Licorice
  • The satisfaction of reading the last page in a really good book
  • The smell of rain
  • Fresh air
  • Cheese
  • Picnics
  • Pretending to have a British accent
  • Ian’s love notes, written on the shower glass when it’s all fogged up
  • Earl grey tea
  • When you catch a stranger smiling about something they’re thinking
  • Apple cider
  • Reading blogs
  • Being at home
  • Twilight (the time of day)
  • When you can feel the warm sun on your skin
  • Cooking with my Mum
  • The smell of citrus
  • Seeing Ian’s face light up when he sees me & knowing mine has done the same
  • Snail mail
  • Skim flat whites
  • Laughing uncontrollably
  • Burgers
  • Cuddling under the doona
  • Memories of my Grandmother
  • Bright nail polish
  • The feeling of sand between your toes on the beach
  • Sushi
  • Discovering a new recipe and cracking it first go
  • Spending hours in a cafe, reading a good book
  • Surprising Ian with cookies
  • Dreaming up new decorating ideas for our first home
  • Walking bare foot on soft grass
  • Feeling smitten
  • Ordering books online
  • Organising my cupboards
  • Old couples holding hands
  • Charity
  • The smell of fresh herbs
  • Beer ads
  • The feel of Ian’s feet on mine, under the covers
  • Holding newborn babies
  • Being able to cook or bake with no deadline
  • Iced coffees
  • Trees
  • Floating on my back in the pool
  • Red lipstick
  • Sharing a meal with friends
  • The crunching sound my computer’s recycled bin makes when it empties
  • Illustrations
  • Drew’s face when I read him Fox in Socks
  • Getting a genuine & meaningful compliment
  • Photos from Sheela
  • Knowing all the words to a song I haven’t heard in years
  • Finding the perfect gift
  • Tiramisu
  • Rainbows
  • Collecting random, pretty things
  • Being in love
  • Learning something new
  • Puppies
  • Not having to set an alarm
  • Inside jokes that never die
  • Smelling like my soap + shampoo after a shower
  • Hugs
  • Runculus
  • Slurpees
  • Walking home in the dark
  • Cobbled streets
  • The quiteness of a library
  • Crinkle cut potato chips
  • The way my hair feels under water
  • Watching Ian try to whistle
  • Making lists
  • Summer nights
  • Eating cold pizza for breakfast
  • Remedial massages
  • Freshly vaccumed floors
  • Women of substance.
It’s the little things. 

A taste of summer on a cold winter’s day

What a week! I’m not sure if I can actually remember what the sun looks like or what it feels like to be completely dry.

Last weekend when the grey, rainy days started, I convinced myself that a summery salad would somehow help make the day feel less like winter.

It didn’t work. Not at all. Probably because I made it while staying in the coldest house on earth (parent palace).

It was delicious though so I shall share the recipie.

Guy Grossi’s Panzanella from my Italian Food Safari cookbook

15cm of stale sourdough baguette, ripped into bite sized pieces
3 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
Handful of basil leaves
Handful of flat leaf parsley, shredded
Freshly ground pepper
2 & 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 & 1/2 tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar

1) Toast the bread in a 180 degree oven until dry and lightly covered. Leave to cool.

2) Combine the bread, tomato and onion in a bowl. Tear over the basil leaves and add the parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and toss thoroughly before serving.

This salad is pretty much like the Italian version of fattosh. It was positively bursting with the freshness of tomato and basil! Perhaps next time though I’ll make it when the weather is more than 10 degrees. In the mean time, I’ll stick to soup.

Lonely but thankful

A few weeks ago, I watched four girls get on the train together and start chatting amongst themselves. Their great energy caught my attention and I found it hard to look away.

I felt jealous. Not because of their fabulous earings – although there was that – but because they had that easy joy of closeness that you only have with your very best friends. They were giddy and silly and clearly delighting in one another’s company.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how spectacularly happy they were.

Right now, I’m pining so much for my precious friends that it almost feels physically painful. The friends I rarely see these days and who I almost never see all at the same time. It makes me feel a bit empty. A bit lonely.

But I can’t wait for the next two weeks to pass so I can have at least three friends in the same room at the same time. I know exactly how it will go. We’ll slip straight into our rhythm. Inside jokes, bullying Donna, laughing till our cheeks throb.

I feel so desperate for the last weekend of July to come that I can barely think of anything else.

I was wondering what other people watching the girls on the train might might have thought about them. Would they have simply been considered a noisy bunch?  I wonder if you have to know how it feels to have such wonderful friendships in order to recognise when other people have the same bond.

I have no idea why I’ve been lucky enough to have been blessed with so many beautiful friends. Friends with big hearts and huge spirits. Not just the girls visiting in a few weeks but all my friends.

My life is magic. And it’s because of the people it’s filled with.

A weekend with Mumzy-in-law

This weekend, my Mumzy-in-law came to stay. We had a great time Museuming it up. It’s always nice exploring your own City with someone who doesn’t see it that often – it forces you to do touristy things that you wouldn’t normally do and to actually pay attention to the buildings you walk past every day.

We visited the State Library as well as six of the Historic Houses Trust properties. It turns out that Mumzy-in-law is the perfect museum companion. Like me, she wants to look in every room, read every sign, watch every video and sometimes double back.

Highlights of the weekend were:

– The Hyde Park Barracks.
Who knew this was such a fantastic museum? I shall be recommending it to international guests forever more! It has a really great summary of Australia’s convict history.

I was surprised to hear that we have a rat infestation to thank for the amazing museum the Barracks has become today. The 19th century rats that scurried beneath the floorboards dragged away clothes, food, newspapers, etc to build their nests. They left mountains and mountains of debris behind. Then in the the late 70s/early 80s when builders started to work on the museum, they found about 100,000 items below the floorboards in ‘ratacombs’. I don’t like rats one bit, but I do like that word. Ratacombs. Lol, lol, lol.

Ratacombs! Seriously gross but seriously amazing.

-The Mint.
Did you know that the old Mint was originally a Hospital? For the first 43 years of it’s existence it was referred to as the Rum Hospital. Apparently Governor Macquarie funded it’s construction by giving the building contractors the authority to import 45,000 gallons of rum.

During the gold rush, one wing was turned into a Mint and stayed that way for 74 years until Canberra was created and the Mint shifted there.

Something else I think is interesting is that Francis Greenway, the dude on our $10 note was actually a convict transported for forgery. Ah, the irony.

As a side note, the Mint Cafe also does a really good cauliflower soup!

Christine, out where the fireplaces were in the coining factory

– The World Press Photography Exhibition at the State Library.
Have you been to the old state library? Not the new bit on Macquarie Street, but the old section, opened in 1826? If you haven’t, then you really must go. And if you HAVE been, well then you are in quite a lot of trouble for not telling me how absolutley beautiful it is! I can’t believe I’ve lived in Sydney for 10 years and not known the library was so grand and gorgeous. The photography exhibition upstairs was great, but the highlight for me was walking into the library and gasping so loudly that the Librarian had a giggling fit.

State Library of NSW - it blew my mind!

I also LOVED the libray’s display of maps. They have all the incorrect versions where the early explorers thought that New Guinea and NZ were part of our country. There’s also incomplete versions, where parts of the country were still to be discovered. And then there’s the first correct map ever completed. I really, really wanted to touch the map Matthew Flinders did. Damn that glass cabinet!

– Dinner at Jazushi.
Live jazz plus sushi. Weird combo, excellent execution! Jazushi’s on Devonshire Street in what I now know was originally called Brickfield Hill, not Surry Hills. Apparently in convict days it was known as Brickfield because of all the clay it had underground. They made pipes and earthen ware from it.

Jazushi, on Devonshire St, Surry Hills

Brunch in the tea rooms at Vaucluse House.
The food was great and afterwards there was a lovely and knowledgeable guide who gave us a tour of the house, gardens and crypt. I really, really, really want to live in this house! It has fabulous high ceilings and old, old furniture. Divine!

I also have to say that after hearing all about Mr William Wentworth (whose house it once was), I think I have a bit of a crush. Maybe I’ll move to Wentworth now :)

Vaucluse House, designed by William Wentworth

– The Justice & Police Museum
The ASIO exhibition was really interesting but the old holding cells in this museum kinda gave me the heebie jeebies!  I was also mortified to see all the weapons they have on display. Some were from crime scenes (and still had blood on them!), some  confiscated by Customs, and some handed in as part of an amnesty.

Creeepy hallway of holding cells

Afternoon tea at The Rocks Cafe.
I’ve been wanting to try their chocolate meringue cake for years!

Chocolate meringue cake

– Wandering through the Botanic Gardens and then joining a tour of Government House. By all accounts, it sounds like our Governor is actually a really smart, lovely person. However I’m still not convinced we need her AND a premier.

Whoops, forgot to take my camera! This one's from the Historic Houses website.

The Museum of Sydney.
I loved all the Australian and Aboriginal history in this museum. I also loved the 52 suburbs exhibition –  tres cool! It’s a selection of the photographs taken by Louise Hawson, who decided to explore one Sydney suburb each week for a year. This is exactly the kind of way I’d like to spend my time. Her images were fantastic and alot of them really quite funny.

I was also quite happy to discover that I’ve actually been to almost all the suburbs she visited.

These are some of the shots from Pyrmont

Can Mumzy-in-law come to visit every weekend?