A rainy Monday

So yesterday was one kind of rainy day. The kind of day where you could walk along the river and get wet but it was ok. Today though, today was a whooooolllle other kind of rainy day. The kind of day where you wake up thinking you can go bushwalking but quickly realise you were insane for believing it was possible.

I think it’s rained now for about 40 hours and it seems to be getting harder by the minute! We sat around for a while this morning waiting for the sky to clear. Then we looked at the rain radar and realised we were going nowhere! Our rainwater tank has overflowed, there are puddles and leeches about and we can’t open a single window or door because water is blowing in by the bucket load.

Last night we had to skip the speedway car racey thing Ian wanted to go to because of the weather. Then today we ended up being stuck inside too. So what to do? Well, I used my time wisely and made these.

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I made two different batches, one with peanut butter, honey &  quinoa flakes and the other with peanut butter, date syrup and quinoa. Both taste amazing. They’re moist and squishy and the perfect bite size. We now have four trays to work through!

Then I filled my freezer up with three different types of soup.

My kitchen was a fun place to be today.

Are you drenched where you are???

 

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A lovely afternoon in the plains of Emu

Yes, mere months ago, I too would have thought that blog title was a complete oxymoron. But a lovely afternoon in Emu Plains we did have. In fact, I am thinking that my suburb snobby-ness may be dwindling.

Anyhoo, to the point Neen.

This afternoon we went to Penrith Regional Gallery and it was charming. We loved it.

In 1979, the artist Margo Lewers bequeathed her property and her art collection to Penrith Council. She left strict instructions that it must be used as an art centre for the locals.

The gallery

Her and her husband Gerald, who was a sculptor, had lived on the property for years and developed a beautiful garden. Although it’s probably not exactly the same as the way they left it, the garden is still a work of art. We loved peeking out at it from inside the gallery and wandering through it afterwards.
Garden

The vegetable garden supplies the café where we lunched. We both had the corn fritters which were fresh and corriandery. Although at $17 a pop, quite the rip! I highly recommend the coffee though. Very good indeed.
Cafe LewersThey currently have a Japanese raked garden exhibition going on.
Raked gadenApparently these gardens are created in the absence of water. They create a stylised landscape of white pebbles dotted with granite rocks. The whole thing is meant to imitate the flow of water and the land formations of mountains. It’s so minimal but so beautiful. We sat for at least 20 minutes enjoying the garden, wondering how something so simplistic could so wonderfully calm our chi.

There was also a bonsai display and E loves bonsai plants so he was in his element!

Bonsais

And then some other pictures that caught my eye.

The artPhotos: 1. Night Caller, by Joanna Braithwaite 2. Sing to me, by Joan Ross 3. Egg comes first, by Joanna Braithwaite

Afterwards, we crossed the road and went for a lovely long walk along the Nepean River. It was raining, we got soaked to the bone and it was terribly romantic.
The river
The perfect day really.

The museum of fire, plus a bonus story about how I almost burnt the house down

Museum of fire

We always see the sign advertising the Museum of Fire when we’re on the M4 and we always say we’ll go. Well this morning was the perfect rainy day for an indoor excursion so we finally got there.

The Museum is in the former Penrith Power Station. It’s been there since the 80’s and I have to say that although the heritage listed building is cool, the displays are looking a little tired. There was also not a dashing fire fighter to be seen which was slightly disappointing.

We did so love the shiny red fire engines though! They have a collection from around the world from the late 18th century up to the 80s. Seeing how beastly some of the trucks are, I now have even MORE respect for fireys! They’re like the dashing knights of our day, able to rush in and save lives, AND their reverse parking skills must be awesome!!!

Fire trucks
The museum also has an international collection of fire fighter helmets, fire alarms dating back from the 1920s and a random assortment of tools. Then there’s the stack of ledgers that record the complete history of fires dating back to 1910. We tend to gravitate to any kind of book display!

One of the signs that caught my eye was this one.

IMG_0483Ah yes, a fire can take hold in three minutes. Yes indeed. Let me tell you about a little something that happened a few weeks ago.

My lovely friend Selina, gave me a really cute candle for Christmas. It was coconut scented and came inside a little coconut shell that had it’s own little coconut shell stand. I took the candle away to Byron because I love nothing more than summery holidays that have a coconut aroma. We burnt the candle every night in our cabana and it was delightful! Then I brought the candle home and decided to burn it in our en suite which was smelling a bit musty after our house had been shut up for more than two weeks.

But I kind of forgot about the candle. Ian and I were both downstairs for awhile, doing something or other. And then as we walked up the stairs I realised I could smell smoke. I kind of registered that it must be the candle but didn’t realise how bad things were till I got to the top of the stairs and found our whole bedroom filled with smoke! The candle had got to the end of it’s 30 hours wick time and the flame had burnt through the coconut shell, through the candle stand and THROUGH our bathroom cabinet which is made of wood. The bathroom cabinet was still on fire when we came in and the flames were just licking the wooden cabinet above the basin. Luckily E managed to flick the flames out with a towel but the look on his face freaked me out!

We’re soooooo lucky that we didn’t stay downstairs for longer or go out to the garden for awhile. Note to self – when one lives in a wooden house (or any house!), do not leave candles unattended!!!

So now our bathroom cabinet looks like charcoal. And the gross marks you can see below that are sort of speckled ALL over the cabinet? Oh that’s just the remnants of an ENTIRE tube of foundation that the candle burnt through as well. All that was left of the tube was it’s cap! I can’t clean it off, the foundation has been burnt into the cabinet!  I think a massive ‘holy crap’ is appropriate at this point.

Seriously though, we’re so lucky! And after what we learnt about fires this morning? We’re getting a fire alarm put upstairs, pronto! Bathroom disaster

And now speaking of hot…

Hot firemen!

 

You’re welcome.


Photo credit.

 

Marrakech in the mountains?

Over the Christmas holidays, I started to think that that maybe I’d like to create a Moroccan styled guest room. Mel started me off with talk of Moroccan lights. Then I began noticing lots of pillow covers with Moroccan prints. And then I got excited about blowing up some photos from my trip to the spice market in Istanbul. In my mind, it was all going to tie together so nicely.

But in the two weeks I daydreamed about this, I became completely, 100% sick of all things Moroccan. Have you noticed how it’s EVERYWHERE at the moment?! Everywhere! I’m over it already, which obviously means it’s not a decorating style I should be introducing into my home! Also, Morocco isn’t even a country on my ‘to visit’ list. I’m not sure what I was thinking.

But so my research doesn’t go to waste, I thought I’d share my little mood boards anyway. It was a nice daydream while it lasted.

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PicMonkey Collage

Photos: 1 & 4 – Etsy 2, 3 & 5, my own, all others – Design Sponge

What’s your favourite decorating style?

Australia Day Gnome Convention – Glenbrook

So this is the story.

In 2005, a group of Rotarians were doing some beautification work on Lennox Bridge in Glenbrook – Australia’s oldest mainland bridge. By total fluke, one of the members caught sight of what he thought might be the high red hat of a gnome. The group proceeded with care, not sure of the nature of the gnomes or where they might have come from.

But the gnomes were friendly. They just like to inhabit foresty areas so they had found a good spot and set up their comfortable little homes.

To celebrate this gnomey bunch, the local Rotary Club established what has become an annual Australia Day Gnome Convention with up to 8,000 people attending.

Then (then!) in 2010, another Rotarian, 800 km away, discovered another 1,500 gnomes in the backyard of a deceased estate he was cleaning. He called in his Rotarian buddies from the Mountains who devised a rescue plan. A group of volunteers and a fleet of vehicles, led by the, erm, Gnome Master, travelled all the way to Cootamundra to adopt the gnomes. They were fostered by Rotarians until the next Gnome Convention, when they were all inducted into the area via a citizenship ceremony and then given away to local residents.

So we decided we’d go along today to check out this festival. It was kind of equal parts enchanting and off putting to me. I don’t actually really like garden gnomes but I liked the story behind this bunch.

So in the park this morning there was a petting zoo, hundreds of market stalls, a ukulele band and a bunch of people walking around in pointy hats.

And then these dudes, below. I gotta say, I’m kind of looking forward to seeing them again next year.

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And below, not a gnome but a damn good sausage. Good to be multicultural on Aussie Day since we’re a multicultural country, right?

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What are you up to today? 

Looking forward

It’s the 10th of January today, which according to an article I just read means that 50% of people who made new years resolutions will have already broken them. This seems so depressing to me! I hope it’s not true.

While I’ve been a bit slow about blogging my goals and plans for 2013, I did spend a few hours on New Years Day having a big think about what I want to achieve this year. In fact I’ve been thinking about it for the last few months.

I know some people aren’t resolution people. But I think for structured, list making types like myself, the new year is a perfect time to do some thinking and planning.

Here’s my listy for your viewing pleasure and for holding me accountable.

1) Save for, plan and go to Europe.
I’ve been wanting to get back there for the last couple of years but for one reason or other, I just haven’t made it. However this October I’m going! Leigh and David and their tribe of kiddywinks have got their German house swap sorted and Mum and I are going to join them. Husband keeps changing his mind about whether or not he wants to come along, but I’m going with or without him. Can’t wait! The planning and the travelling will be amazing. The saving won’t be as much fun…

2) Organise my photos!
This is something that’s been on my to do list for too long. I have photos to be printed, hundreds of digital photos to be sorted, and boxes of my grandfather’s photos to be scanned. My goal is to finally get on top of this and do the sorting in chunks of time so it doesn’t get too tedious! I’m thinking I will dedicate an hour a week.

3) Get my ebay on! 
I have been a bridesmaid at least a gazillion times. I have dresses to sell! And they have been sitting around for years and years wasting closet space. There’s also a bunch of other stuff that needs to be purged both from my house and my parent’s place. My goal is to list one item a week from now until it’s all gone.

4) Be a better online friend!
About half way through last year, I blogged about how I wanted to be better at this. But I failed. However I’m trying anew. I read so many blogs that inspire me, make me think or make me laugh but I don’t always click through and write a message. In fact, I very rarely click through. I actually just found a post of Mel’s that I’d starred in google reader about her parent’s new campervan. I meant to show Ian the pictures and then write something about it. That was October. It’s now January and I’d say that the moment has kind of passed, wouldn’t you? I’ve been slack but I shall make amends.

To help with making this goal attainable, I’ve removed a few bloggers from my follow list so that it’s only my total, total favourites that take my time.

5) Tick stuff off the to do list! 
I’ve mentioned before that I keep long lists of books I want to read, places I want to go, movies I want to watch, restaurants I want to try, music I want to download, things I want to make. Sometimes though I feel like I spend a lot of time making lists and not enough time doing the stuff on the lists. This year, I’m going to change that. I’ve decided on 12 books that I WILL read, 12 movies I WILL see, 12 places I WILL go, 12 cafes I WILL eat at, 12 albums I WILL buy and 6 things I WILL make. One thing a month and two months per creative project seems quite attainable.

Do it! From steoffreyImage source.

And a couple of other things:

In the house department- We’re going to replace our decking and redo our lounge area this year.
In the reading department – I’m going to get over my OCD habit of having to finish EVERY book I start. In my whole life, I’ve only every not finished two books and I still feel guilty about them. But I’m trying to move on! After all, fife is too short to read bad books. I’m also going to start keeping a record of all the books I’ve read. Every year I say that I’ll do this but I don’t! This year though, my family has set up a facebook reading group where we can record what we read and talk about our book recommendations.
So that’s me. Now watch me go forth and start slaying my bucket list!

Looking back

2012 was a funny old year.

When I look back at my posts, highlighting the best bits of January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November & December I realise that I had a jam packed year. There was a Melbourne trip, a QLD trip, a snow trip, a Byron Bay trip, plenty of theatre visits and lots of eating out.

There was also the major high of buying our house! Hurrah! our-place

 

On the low side, was the passing of my cute, fiesty, 96 year old Grandfather.

There was also spending a year in a job I don’t quite like in an organisation that’s truly lost it’s mojo.

But I’ve met some great people this year both online (hi Claudia!) and in real life (finally, finally, Sam Brady!)

I also learnt a lot. Like:

  • You have to be really happy in your heart and with yourself and in your skin and in your soul.
  • You need to spend time with people whose presence feels like a giant breath of fresh air sweeping through your life.
  • You need to maintain the childish hope that good things come to those who wait.

2012 rocked. Mostly because the world didn’t end after all!

So 2013, I do declare – you are open for business. Let’s do this!

 

Another narcissistic post

So here’s another little questionnaire that I’ve decided to fill out today. I remember when these things used to get around on email, I’d always love them. I love finding out random bits of info about different people.

What time did get up this morning?
8.20 I think. I’m not paying too much attention to the clock while I’m on holidays. How wonderful is it to wake naturally and not to an alarm? I feel so rested!

Diamonds or pearls?
I like diamonds but I’d never want to be dripping in them. Far too ostentatious!

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
I saw The Hobbit while we were in Byron but blast it – I kept falling in and out of sleep. I need to watch it again. I liked what I saw.

What is your favourite TV show?
Dexter is my favourite show of all time. I think the writing is brilliant and the cast are all amazing actors. I also love Fringe (though not really enjoying season 5) and Homeland (but haven’t watched season 2 yet). We also watch True Blood despite the fact that it’s terrible. It’s like a train wreck. We just can’t.look.away.

What do you usually have for breakfast?
Coffee and toast. Sometimes fruit and yoghurt. Anything but cereal which (apart from bircher muesli) I hate.

What is your middle name?
Ann with no E.

What food do you dislike?
I loathe goats cheese. The mere smell of it makes me feel nauseous. So many people say ‘Just try this one, it’s flavour isn’t that strong’. So I try it and then the end result is the same. I feel vomiteous.

What is your favourite CD at the moment?
Ever since I saw Regina Spektor last month, her CDs have been on high rotation. I’m actually getting a bit sick of them but E wants to keep listening. I think it’s possible he might like her more than I do.

What kind of car do you drive?
A silver audi.

What characteristic do you despise?
I’m not a fan of arrogant, cocky people. Nor those who are thoughtless.

Favourite item of clothing?
I bought a pair of denim shorts a few weeks ago. I’ve wanted some for ages and they are super comfy. I’ve been practically living in them!

If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
Eastern Europe.

Favourite brand of clothing?
Brand schmand.

Where would you retire to?
I’d be more than happy to stay right where I am. Otherwise, Newcastle so I’m close to family.

What was your most memorable birthday?
I’m not really into my birthday. I just love other people’s birthdays! I had a massive party for my 21st though and that was fun. Although ironically, very few people that I hang out with today were there. I look at the photos from that time and realise I don’t actually keep in contact with half the people who attended back then!

I also had a high tea with all my girl friends one year. I recall it because it was the occasion that made me realise I don’t like group events. Give me an intimate gathering any day!

Oh and once when I was a teenager, my cousins and I spent my whole birthday playing Commander Keen and Tetris and my Mum made me a cake in the shape of a mouse. I remember that my eyes were so sore from computer games that I could barely focus on the mouse cake and I thought at first that it was just a white circle!

I was a lucky kid, my Mum is an amazing cake decorator and I had beautiful cakes every single year. In fact, often I had two. She’d deliver one to school and then make another one for my party. Spoilt.

Favourite sport to watch?
The only sport I watch is NRL.

Favourite makeup item?
Clinque Continuous Coverage. If they ever take this foundation off the market, I’m doomed to never leaving the house again.

Favourite movie?
This is HARD! It’s like asking me to pick my favourite book! I think I’d have to say Amelie and also Brave Heart.

What star sign are you?
Aries. So I’m bossy. Apparently.

Are you a morning person or a night person?
I’m kind of neither. I used to be an early bird but then I got married. E is a night owl so I’ll often stay up late with him now.

Pets?
No pets. We were thinking about getting a dog however have decided not to. I’ve been focussing over the last year on being less selfless and a bit more selfish. I think I want to remain responsibility free for a little while longer.

Any new and exciting news you’d like to share?
I have a Europe trip in the pipeline. Travelling s taking up a lot of my brain space right now!

What did you want to be when you were little?
An actress! I was obsessed with Hollywood. Then that turned into wanting to be a journalist. Finally I got a grip and went down the Comms/Marketing path. So funny to me that the two industries I was so interested in I now kind of abhor.

How are you today?
I’m feeling a trifle guilty that I’m sitting about blogging when I should be taking down my Christmas tree and decorations. Apart from that though, I’m at peace.

What is your favourite candy?
I like Allens lollies. Too much.

What is your favourite flower?
I’m a bit crap about knowing what the names of flowers are and I don’t really have a favourite as such. I like most flowers really, they are all beautiful in different ways. But if I was forced to pick, I think I’d say dahlias, peonies, ranculi and hydrangeas. I also like floppy, home grown roses. And I kind of like tulips but they just get so droopy and that makes me feel sad for them.

What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?
I’m on holidays for another 10 days and I’m looking forward to each and every one of those days.

What are you listening to now?
Our little mini desk fan blowing on E. And his breathing.

What was the last thing you ate?
I just nicked a piece of E’s beef jerky. It wasn’t worth eating – bleh!

Do you make wishes….
I pray about the same things, over and over, every single day. 

If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
Bright pink!

How is the weather right now?
HAWT!

The first person you spoke to on the phone today
No one yet. I actively try not to talk to people on the phone but I will call my Mumzy and my Mumzy-in-law laters.

Favourite soft drink?
I like lemon lime & bitters. And I’m partial to the odd glass of creaming soda!

Favourite restaurant?
I could never pick just one. Cafe Sydney and Spice Temple are my two, more high end favs.  I also love Bills for breaking my fast. a’tavola and Rosso Pomodoro are my favourite Italian joints. Other places I love to revisit are Fu Man Chu (authentic, fresh, Asian food), Miss Chu (for dumplings and spring rolls) and Na Zdrowie (for Polish).

Favourite colour?
Red! And I’m starting to like orange. Yep, let your mouth hang open! I hated that colour for years but it’s growing on me.

What was your favourite toy as a child?
I loved boy dolls! I had a My Child named Oliver and a Cabbage Patch named Troy. I also had a teddy bear called Barry. Then there was this random, glow in the dark weird creature called Henrietta who I loved. But it was freaking ugly!

Mostly, I just liked to read Enid Blyton.

Summer or Winter?
I like any weather that’s not extreme. When you get so cold that your bones hurt, it’s not pleasant. But I also hate humid days where you can’t stop sweating and it’s hard to gather the energy to do anything.

Hugs or kisses?
I’m a hugger. I would much rather greet people with a hug than a quick peck on the cheek. That whole cheek pecking bizzo feels a trifle false to me. But when it comes to my husband – both! Lots of both!

Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate. I was about to write vanilla, then I realised that apart from genuine vanilla essence, I actually don’t like anything vanilla. I hate vanilla scented products like candles, etc and I don’t really like the taste of it either.

Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Followed quite closely by tea though.

When was the last time you cried?
I cried yesterday watching Fringe. Seeing people, real or imaginary, deal with the loss of loved ones is the quickest way for me to get salty eyes.

What is under your bed?
Not a thing. Unless there’s a monster I don’t know about?

What did you do last night?
We watched three episodes of Fringe and ate ravioli with basil from my garden, tomatoes from Mum’s garden, lemon myrtle oil and bocconcini. Heavenly!

What are you afraid of?
Loosing people I love. Also dying myself and then people who love me having to live without me. I think that anyone who has lived through loss, particularly of someone young, will always fear ever having to experience that again.

Salty or sweet?
I’d usually say sweet but after eating so much sugary stuff around Christmas time, I’m quite done with sugar.

How many years at your current job?
A few ;P

Favourite day of the week?
Friday, because I love the anticipation of the weekend. And of course Saturday because I get my chores out of the way, then have nothing to look forward to but fun!

Do you make friends easily?
I’m not sure actually. I don’t really like to meet new people, I get a bit shy. But when I come across someone I like, I generally bond with them very quickly and consider them a friend for life.

What is your new year’s resolution?
There’ll be a whole separate post on this.

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Did you find out anything new about me?