52 lists – places I want to go

The list of places I want to go is long. The longest. So I’ll just mention those on the top of my ‘to travel to’ list.

1. Amsterdam
2. Prague
3. Vienna
4. Ljubljana
5. Zagreb
6. Budapest
7. Bratislava
8. Krakow
9. Warsaw

Aaaannnnd it just so happens that I’ll be visiting all of these places in October.

I think we’ll also be swinging by Berlin (as you do) because E has suddenly decided that he wants to learn German. I’ve been to Berlin before and it’s certainly one of the coolest cities I’ve visited so I’m more than happy to return.

We’re also going to Bohemia! I’ve been reading about the bone chapel in Kutna Hora and am totally intrigued.

So it’s full blown excitement mode at the Jackson house right now. How long until a count down is appropriate?

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April and May – all of the things

The last couple of months have been really quite good. I’ve been up to all sorts of stuff. And now I’m going to tell you about it.

  • We started April off right with some early morning gardening sessions. Every day for a week we got up at 6am and gardened until it was time to get ready for work. It put a huge dent in our outdoor ‘to do’ list. And what a lovely way to start the day – out in the fresh morning air with your honey!
  • Then was the event of the year – the arrival of my niece Antigone Eliza who I simply can’t get enough of. She’s the cutest little cuddlebug and nothing makes me feel happier than holding her, talking to her and thinking about her. I love this recent picture of her.

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  • After Tiggs came along, the next big thing was a family trip to the Gold Coast. My Aunt had organised a ten year anniversary service for my Cousin Patrick. At first I was perplexed by this event. She asked me to speak and I was befuddled. What does one say at such things?  It wasn’t a funeral but it wasn’t exactly a celebration. In the end, it really did turn out to be a lovely way to remember Patrick, who passed away so suddenly at the age of 17. It meant that the anniversary of his passing wasn’t just a ceremonial nod to an event confined to its moment in time. I guess I’d like to think that if I died, 10 years on, people were still willing to attend a service for me.

Also, the school Patrick went to is TSS on the Gold Coast. It’s certainly an amazing school , very Hatter Potterish with a formal dining hall, stunning buildings and beautiful grounds. I always like visiting there.

TSS

  • Then it was my birthday. The thing I loved the most about my birthday was being reminded that I am friends with the best people. I was spoilt rotten with messages, phone calls, cards, presents and emails. My sister is always lovely, but her particular lovely loveliness was all the more evident when she baked me this cake.

Cake

Chocolate cake with smarties is the way to my heart! Leigh not only spoilt me with this  nom nom nominess but also with the most divine gifts. And only a week after having a baby!
Love. Her.

  •  I also really must show you this present. IT’S THE BOXED SET OF ROALD DAHL BOOKS. My work partner-in-crime bought these for me and I am a bit lucky to have them, I think! I have been coveting this set for years. You’ll find them in prime position on my book shelf. When you visit, I’m happy for you to look at them but please don’t touch! And sorry but you’ll never be able to borrow them. Just sayin.
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  • I also received two beautiful bunches of yellow flowers, which when merged into one bunch was like a MAJOR burst of sunshine on my dining room table. They made me happy every day that they were alive.
  • I spent my birthday watching this movie.
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    It was beautiful but incredibly depressing and I did a lot of crying. Not really smart planning for my birthday! But then I had a bit of a dumpling gorge and everything was ok. What is wrong with two whole steam boats of dumplings for lunch? Nothing.Dumlings
  • I came home one day to find that Sheela had decorated my eggs. How awesome are these eggs?
    IMG_1567It made me laugh for weeks. And now everyone now seems to be drawing faces on their eggs. It’s like the fashion accessory du jour for your fridge.
  • David, Leigh & Tiggs came to stay over Anzac Day. We went to the bakery then ate treats by the lake. Then my Mumzy-in-law and nephews came to visit. We had a toastie night and did a lot of talking. My nephews fished hot cross buns out of my freezer and smooshed nutella and banana into them before toasting. They were sickly in the best possible way. Toasties
  • Other wonderful things in April: An afternoon browsing through the cute shops in Wahroonga, beef pho & Black Star Pastry with Sheela, dinner club with the Williams at a delish Greek restaurant in the City.
  • In May, Sheels, Kys & I went to Canberra to visit our friends Kat & Adrian. Their baby Connor is so cute it is ridiculous. We picknicked and breakfasted and played in the beautiful autumn leaves. Was delightful!IMG_1790
  • Then there was a day off work in the middle of the week to celebrate my Mumzy’s birthday. We went for a lovely walk around the lake with Leigh and Tiggs before lunching with friends.BoatsDespite it being my Mum’s birthday, our close family friends gave me a stunning gift! They passed their beautiful Royal Albert tea cups on to me. I have loved these cups since I was little, which they knew. I don’t really feel deserving but I was most touched!IMG_1780
  • Then was some more family time. I got to meet my Cousin’s new baby Mason (isn’t he cute with Tiggs below?), there was Mothers Day, a family lunch and more snuggles with my niecey.
    Mason and Tiggs
  • We spent Ian’s birthday dining at Porteno with Mel & Jay. We slept over which meant waking up and finding this little dude in my bed!Harley
  • Then the next night Ian and I had dinner in the City and it felt so good to be back for the second night in a row in our old stomping ground.
  • And now to this past weekend. It was la superbe! I met up with Lis & Mel for the Writers Festival on Saturday. Both events I went to were great! One was a talk by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and the other a panel discussion on speculative fiction. In the evening we had our May dinner club with the Williams at Gallon. Cue drinking, good food, laughter and another sleep over. I love those two. On Sunday we brunched, shopped and then went home to the Mountains feeling like we’d had a good fill of City time.

So that’s the last couple of months for me. It’s been fun peeps! And did I mention we booked return flights to the ‘dam? No? Well more on that in my next post then!

Weird food combos

I love a weird food combo. I pretend I don’t, when I first come across them. But then the combo stays in my mind until I try it.

This happened to me awhile ago with Billy Law’s Cola Chicken. I saw the recipe on Cook Republic (as per the pic below) and was appalled that someone would be so unhealthy as to use coke in cooking. But then I couldn’t get the idea out of my idea. I tried it and it was AMAZE! Not something to eat regularly though!

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Here’s a few other weird combos that have caught my eye recently:

Hotdogs wrapped with bacon and stuffed with peanut butter! This one’s from a historic gastronomist featured on the etsy blog here.

Hot dogCarrot cake porridge

Carrot cake oatmeal

Peanut butter & pickle sandwich

Peanut butter and pickles

And then on Stone Soup the other day, there were some food combo suggestions from Tim Ferriss. He suggested:

:: cayenne pepper and salt on mango
:: cinnamon and chilli powder on vanilla ice cream
:: soy sauce on vanilla ice cream
:: cinnamon on bacon
:: almond butter on hamburger

So, would you dare try any of these?

Reading, watching, eating

I’ve been reading some great stuff lately & I’ve been watching & eating some good things too.

In the last month or so I’ve read

  • James Frey’s first two books. He called them memoirs but it’s since become evident that he made up a lot of what happened. I still really liked both of them though. Before reading these books, my understanding of drug addiction and drinking problems was quite facile. I really feel like these books have the potential to keep young kids far away from alcohol!

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  • I discovered that my local library has a whole box of plays in the HSC section and I’ve gone a bit nuts with them.
    Plays

I read Pygmalion not long after Tiggs was born, because of her (middle) namesake – Eliza. Then I read Away. I have always loved and wanted to play Gwen and I forced Ian to listen to me recite some of her monologues. I read The Glass Menagerie & Waiting for Godot because I’m seeing both plays later in the year. Dags was one I acted in when I did drama classes as a teenager. I saw the cover and felt nostalgic! I found the play Stolen in the library box and the cover caught my eye. It’s about the stolen generation and I think every school student in Australia should have to read it. And then I read the Summer of the 17th doll because I’ve always heard about this play but didn’t know the story at all.

  • Two websites that I look at almost every day are All that is interesting and Altruism in the Morning. Both have amazing content. All that is interesting mostly displays beautiful photography from around the world. Altruism in the morning has a focus on the curation of quirky, interesting videos, stories and images. Check them out!
  • I also love this post that Maxwell Tielman wrote about her Mum.  I have superwoman as a Mum too so I could relate.
  • I liked this post about keeping emotion out of food choices.
  • And this post is a good one. It’s a reminder that everyone’s pain and stress is valid. When people go through hard times, their situation may not seem so tough to you but that makes it no less legitimate.

In the last month or so I’ve watched:

  • The entire season of My Kitchen Rules.
    We’ve never watched any cooking shows before but we got so involved in this show that we didn’t miss a single episode! Even though it was good to watch, we were totally over it in the end and have vowed to never again watch a show that airs so many night’s a week. Too much TV!!!
  • A few hours of The Voice, mostly online.
    Everyone’s talking about this show but I haven’t been able to get into it really. I just like the odd performance here and there.
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  • The Flight of the Conchords Season 1 & 2 and Little Britain USA
    My brother in law gave me both Conchords DVDs for Christmas a few years ago and I’ve only just got around to watching them. I found the entire first season incredibly painful. It’s sort of awkward humour in the vein of The Office, rather than actually being funny to me like the IT crowd. But I pushed on and in Season 2 there was a couple of  pretty funny songs. Have you heard of Sugar Lumps? Or Too many dicks on the dance floor? Yep, they’re as bonkers as they sound. Both videos are worth watching if you want a good laugh!I also found Little Britian USA on my book shelf and realised that somehow I’d never watched it. I’m not sure how I forgot I had it, such was my obsession with this show! I even saw it live!

In the last month of so, I’ve been eating:

  • Cabbage salads. I’m not talking coleslaw but rather salads incorporating cabbage. They seem to be popping up in cafes around Sydney. Reminds me of all the cabbage salads Leigh and I bought daily when we travelled through Germany. And red cabbage? Love.it.

What have you been reading, watching and eating lately? 

52 lists – things I wanted to be when I grew up

1. When I was really little, I used to tell my parents that I wanted to be a ‘fruit shop lady’. This really amuses me now :) 

2. Then as I started to grow up, I became obsessed with Hollywood and was convinced that I wanted to be an actress. Drama classes, performances, concerts were my life! 

3. All through highschool I wanted to be a journalist. This was my plan until the day I found out I’d got into a Communications degree. Then for some reason, I freaked out, changed my mind and enrolled in a Business degree instead. 

Do you think anyone decides what they want to do and then actually becomes that thing? 

52 lists – things I loved as a child

One of my favourite things to do when I was little was to go on adventure hunts in the backyard. Mum would give my sister and I each an ice-cream container and a list and send us to find certain things. Feathers, a fern leaf, a flower, a pebble, etc. She was such a good Mum.

I also loved to play on my go go ball. Try as I might, I have not been able to find a picture of one on the whole of the internets. Do you remember what they looked like? It was kind of  like Saturn and you could bounce around on the plastic frame around the ball. Mine was red and blue and Leigh’s was pink and yellow. Fun times.

I also loved: Things I loved as a kid

Viewmasters! Were they not awesome? And is there anything like them today? No.
Hyper colour tshirts! I wish these would make a comeback!
Mr Galliano’s Circus. My favourite Enid Blyton book.
Making letters out of dough then baking them.
Making jewellery out of flowers. Also looking for 4 leaf clovers.
Yearly ski trips.
Doing hand stands in the pool and making Mum judge them out of 10.
Warheads! I loved tricking my grandparents with these.
My little ponies. The original, vintage versions not the newfangled ones out today!

How bout you?

Music Monday//Adele + Afro Circus

When I broke my phone last year, my lovely friend Kylie leant me her old iPhone for a bit. This was when I suddenly became an Apple convert. The other wonderful thing was that I found a long list of music on the phone that Kylie liked. It took me a good few months but I slowly worked my way through the tunes, discovering many new artists and rediscovering old ones.

One artist was Adele, who I kinda knew but not really. Are you a fan?

Someone like you makes my heart ache. It reminds me of a friend whose partner left her for another girl.

My second favourite is Set fire to the rain. Shesh kebabs but her voice is strong.


And of course, then there’s Rolling in the deep which was her first single.


If you’re a James Bond fan, you’ll know her song Skyfall from the latest movie in the series. I myself don’t care much for Mr Bond but I absolutely love this song.


And relatedly (or not), this is a song that I put on when I want to impress my husband with a crazy dance. Ra da da da da da da da!

It’s Gats – tastic!

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If you’re looking forward to seeing The Great Gatsby as much as I am, then you might like a couple of links I’ve come across this evening. 

Natalie did a little sneaky poo of the Gatsby spread in Vogue this month. You can check it out here

And if it’s the music you’re after, you can have a first listen here

How much longer do we have to wait Baz? 

My own personal DIY’er

Wouldn’t it be great if you could hire your own personal DIY’er. I mean, you can hire a cleaner. You can hire a gardener. You can hire a handy man. Why not someone who you can brief a little creative DIY project in to? You’d get your Pinty board ‘to dos’ cleared in no time!

If such a person was available, I’d get them working quick smart on making me a collection of these twine bottles.

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And then I’d say ‘Now you get started on these nature organisers PRONTO’.
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Then I would need them to whip up a few of these sunglasses cases.
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And with any spare time left, I’d insist on rows and rows of heart garland like this.

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What would you commission if you had a crafty minx at your disposal?

Autumnal leaves

I’ve just come back from a lovely little overnight stay in Canberra. It’s looking quite stunning down there right now.

We lay on our backs and gazed up at the blue skies, watching the sun stream through the trees. Then the Sheelster had some fun frolicking amongst the pretty leaves.

 Canberra, in all your autumnal glory, my breath was officially taken. 

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