Saturday photo journal

Yesterday was a day steeped in old times. I went to a newly restored, 111 year old hotel with two old friends. While we were there, we came upon a flapper style jazz festival where all the attendees were in 1920s garb. They were trying to break the world record for the most number of people doing the charleston at the one time. I felt like we’d walked right into the Great Gatsby. It was wonderful.

Days with your best friends are good for the soul. IMG_0406 IMG_0409 IMG_0412 IMG_0415 IMG_0418 IMG_0419 IMG_0435 IMG_0439 IMG_0443 IMG_0444 IMG_0446 IMG_0448 IMG_0456

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Nelson

NelsonNelson Mandela passed away today and along with the rest of the world, I mourn him. As the daughter of two South Africans, I feel like he was a man that I have known about for my whole life. He is my Father’s hero. The first time I ever saw my Dad cry, was the day Nelson was released from Prison.

There’s nothing I can write about this man that hasn’t already been written today. But I have been thinking about the way Nelson described the loss of someone who meant a lot to him.

In Long Walk to Freedom, he explained how he felt when his best friend Oliver Tambo passed away. The way he described Oliver, actually seems like a very apt way to describe Nelson himself:

“In Plato’s allegory of the metals, the philosopher classifies them into groups of gold, silver and lead. Oliver (and Nelson) was pure gold. There was gold in his intellectual brilliance, gold in his warmth and humanity, gold in his tolerance and generosity, gold in his unfailing loyalty and self sacrifice. As much as I respected him as a leader, that is how much I loved him as a man”. 

Madiba, you were the greatest man in our life time. Thank you for changing the world. May you rest in peace. 

17 & 1

So here’s something cool. My husband and I have been together for 17 years today. Yep, it’s true. We were 16 (me) & 17 (him) years old when we got together in 1996.

He is radder than rad. The bees to my knees. My favourite. My best. My everything.

If you told us 17 years ago that we would end up living happily ever after, neither of us would have been surprised. We always knew.

1 June also happens to mark the one year anniversary of us being Mountains people. I miss the city more than I imagined I would but I sure do love my home. And the person I share it with.

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Antigone Eliza

My sister and brother in law had an adorable baby girl last week and they named her Antigone Eliza.

I love her name and I love the girl herself even more. She is perfection. Beautiful!

My Mum and I were out walking when we got the news that Tigs had arrived. After a lot of squeals, we dashed home, crying big crocodile tears of joy and then quickly made our way to the hospital. Holding my niece when she was all of three hours old was such a wonderful feeling. I was staring down at her thinking – Wow! You’re the new one in our family and it’s going to be so much fun! You’re going to be my little friend that I can do silly dances with and wear funny hats for. We’re going to read together and make play dough and I’m going to get to be part of your life and watch you grow up and I just can’t wait for it all. But I want it to go slowly too so I can take note of every little thing.

So yes, I’m a little more than completely obsessed. Every time I get sent a new photo of Tigs, I share it with every living soul in a 50 km radius. I just love her so much.

This little munchkin looks so peaceful and pretty when she sleeps. And check out those biceps!
Antigone

When she’s awake, she’s a  squigly, funny little babe. I could look at her for ever and ever.

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What is even more beautiful though is seeing my sister with her first baby. Tigs is lucky because Leigh is already a good, good Mummy.

So I’m thinking that the gushing is getting out of control here. Can you stand it? In summary, I love my Antigone.

That’s all.

Melisms

Today is Melly’s 34th birthday. Who’s Melly? Oh, just one of my closest friends. E & I wrote this list last week of 34 Melicious Morsels that we want to share on her birthday.

Note – due to a scheduling f*ck up on my part, this post is going live at the end of Mel’s birthday, not the beginning as planned. Somehow, when scheduling I thought the year was 2014..

1) Once upon a time, Mel told us that she was going to buy a piano and relearn how to play. One night not long after, we asked her to play something for us. Expecting a rendition of chopsticks, we were completely blown away when she played Yiruma. It was achingly beautiful and we still talk about it.

2) Mel smiles while she exercises. It’s totally disconcerting. There you are, in your zone, trying your best not to die from the intense pain and exhaustion and you’ll look over and there is Little Miss Sunshine, grinning away like she’s actually having fun!

3) She also loves to exercise in the heat which we find weird as well.

4) Melly is our dinner club Culinary Conductor. When we sit down, she takes charge, organises what we’ll eat and does all the ordering. I love going out to dinner with her because she knows what we like and she makes sure we get it.

5) She makes the world’s best guacamole.

6) She gets the coffee. If you’re road tripping or meeting up to help her move house, she always arrives with steaming cups of caffeine. Oh Melly, I love you for this.

7) She changes her hair colour and her house regularly. More than regularly!

8) She has beautiful skin. And a beautiful smile. And a beautiful soul.

9) She makes us play lists for short drives, long drives, as gifts. Her taste in music rocks!

10) She understands. Everything.

11) She’s partial to the odd macaron.

12) She is a fitness junkie and it’s inspirational.

13) She once invited us over for dinner and was mortified that semi Bridget Jones style, she turned our food purple. It still tasted amazing and we were highly amused.

14) She’s like a teenager – staying up until 4am to watch a new show or read a new series of books.

15) She has wide ranging tastes. Her list of favourite films, books and music is eclectic.

16)  She seems to know every actress, every artist, every model, every author.

17) She’s a foodie like us!

18) She talks about becoming a vampire maker and turning us into her minions. This doesn’t please us.

19) She claims that in a Zompoc, her & E will be the strategists. Jay & I will be off finding berries. E thinks this is hilarious. I’m planning to withhold my berries from her and demand a more crucial role.

20) She has the cutest, cutest doggy and is a role model for dog owners everywhere.

21) Melly is brave.

22) She is loyal. Say something bad about Nicole Kidman and just wait for this point to be proved!

23) She doesn’t like her arms being touched while sleeping :) We’re planning to sneak into her room in Byron to caress her arms while she’s sleeping ;)

24) She always chats to the cab driver. Sometimes long after they’ve arrived at her destination.

25) She’s the dream house guest, arriving with good champagne and a cheese platter & the next morning, bringing coffee to those still in bed.

26) She introduced us to the fabulousness of ciders & perries.

27) She is a minimalist like us. She understands the bliss that being clutter free brings.

28) She looks after E and has since we were teenagers.

29) After she read Twilight, she turned up at book club and talked about the novels and the author NON STOP. She’d brought along Youtube links for us to watch. Such is her adorable, excitable nature.

30) She sends emails about torturous events like commando camps and is so excited about them that we get suckered into believing a 5km challenge course will be fun.

31) She’s currently obsessing over skulls.

32) She’s always working on herself, learning, growing, trying to be a better person. We like this. Even though we already think she’s perfect.

33) She loves nail polish as much as me!

34) We’re two of her biggest fans.

Love you Melly. Happy 34th.

The olive grove


Ian’s parents grow olives. Lots and lots and lots of olives. They have hundreds of trees in their grove and every second April, we harvest. Some say it’s back breaking work, but I find it cathartic.

Mumzy-inlaw is happy her son married into an olive loving family with Lebanese (ish) heritage. I think I’m lucky to have married into a family that produces hundreds of kilos of my favourite food. It’s win win.

My family have always bought olives in bulk. Now I’m lucky to have them grown in bulk! Year round, I have massive jars of olives on my kitchen bench.

This is my favourite recipe for marinating olives. It’s quite sharp and tangy.

Sweet Paul’s Kick Ass Olives

170 grams mixed olives
85 grams capers, (the large ones)
grated zest from 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2-3 fresh springs of thyme
1/4 cup olive oil

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Let the mixture sit in the fridge 12 hours before serving.

I love the olives themselves but my favourite thing is the oil. It’s fresh, light, tasty and I have an endless supply. We infuse the oil with lots of different things – cracked black pepper,  rosemary, thyme, garlic and chili.

My other favourite thing about visiting my inlaws is their cute herb garden. Bath tubs of herbs! Yeah!


If E and I are ever to separate, I’m keeping his family ;P

Ski trip

We’ve just come back from a ski trip and it was wonderful.

It was a family affair – Mumzy, Dad, Husband, Mumzy-in law, Sister in law, Brother in law, Brother in law’s girlfriend & two riotous nephews.

Pre-trip, I had butterflies in my tummy. How would 10 of us from three very different families live together in the one place for a whole week? Would I remember how to ski? Would any of us injure ourselves?

I’m not a worry wart per se, but every now and then I do tend to over think things and get my knickers well and truly knotted. But as with most things in life it all ended up being absolutely fine.

The weather was perfect and that made for amazing skiing. The snow itself was heavenly! It was fresh and fluffy and when I lay down to make snow angels, it felt like I was lying in a pile of clouds.

When I was younger, my parents owned a flat in Jindabyne so I was lucky enough to go on skiing holidays at least once (if not twice!) every single year. This is only the second time I’ve skied as a adult though and last time it was a bit of a disaster. But this time round, I loved it. Not to brag (ok I’m bragging) but I was the only one of us who didn’t have a single fall!

Husband boarded alongside me almost the whole time too. I wasn’t expecting that, he’s far faster and much more daring than me so I thought he’d stick to black runs. But no, he hung  with me on the green and blues. He’s a keeper that one. We had lovely little hot chocolates dates on top of the mountain each day. There’s something dizzyingly romantic about sitting in the snow, sipping a hot drink, snuggled up with your honey. I felt happy to my core.

The absolute highlight? Hands down, it was seeing how my nephew Drew took to skiing. He had a couple of lessons but then skied for the rest of the time with us. He skied with such unbridled joy that it made my heart smile big! I always knew when he was skiing up behind me because I’d hear him screeching ‘WHOO HOO, WHOO HOO’ over and over, as he made his way down the mountains. There’s something quite revitalizing for your soul, seeing and hearing pure happiness like that.

Can’t wait to go back next year.

 Photo credit.

Happy (sort of) birthday G-ma

If my Grandmother was still around, today would have been her birthday.

She passed away 7 years ago after a long, brave battle with leukemia.

I was truly blessed to have had her in my world because she was a woman with a real zest for life!

Situ was a people person with a fantastic sense of humour and a wicked laugh. She was excitable, thoughtful and had the most hectic schedule of anyone I have ever known. She got involved in as many clubs, charities and activities as she possibly could because she liked to pack as much into every day of her life as she could.

If I can be even half the person she was, I know I’ll have a life well lived.

RIP Situ. You were a rock star!