One + Four = Life: good starts and nice views

Hello! How’s everything going for you? Chill or not so chill? I think we’re pretty good here. Nearly the school holidays for us so things are winding down quite a bit. Here’s what’s been going on at chez iris  and edie this week.

imageLast week Isabel wrote about making a muesli slice. I don’t make muesli slices very often but I do make my own muesli and this week I needed to replenish my stores. I’ve been making my special mix for MANY years. I’ve popped the recipe – such as it is! – at the end of this post in case you want to give it a go. I started making my own muesli so that I could specifically tailor it to my taste. There  was always something in the packaged mixes that left me saying ‘but I don’t like …’. Two big spoonfuls with yoghurt and some fruit keeps me firing til lunchtime.image

I’ve started! Okay, so I haven’t got very far on the actual present buying front, but I have bought Christmas cards for the nearest and dearest, the wrapping paper, Christmas serviettes and bonbons. Now I just have to keep going!imageEvery week when I go to yoga, I drive down this street. At the moment, many of the trees are flowering with beautiful orange-yellow blooms creating a golden canopy to drive beneath. I have no idea what the tree is called. The flowers are a bit like a banksia but sit horizontally rather than vertically. Anyone have any idea? I think they look very pretty. No matter how many times I turn into the street, it always comes as a happy little surprise to see this golden beauty.image

On Saturday afternoon, my man and I went for a walk beside the Yarra. I wrote about our afternoon here. ‘Twas a nice way to spend a couple of hours. Topped it off with dinner and a movie with friends. Happy day!

Do you make your own muesli? Are you a sweet or savoury breakfast person? Have you had nice times with your partner or friends this week? If you want to see what others have been up to, pop over to Isabel’s blog.

Iris and Edie’s Muesli

5 cups rolled oats

1 cup slivered almonds

4 tablespoons each of pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds

Spread the the above ingredients on an oven tray and pop into a 180 degree Celsius oven to toast. Check every couple of minutes to ensure the mix doesn’t burn. Remove from oven when the house is smelling nice and nutty. Cool, put into a big container then add the following ingredients.

1 cup shredded coconut (could toast this too if you like)

1 cup lecithin granules

4 tablespoons linseeds

big handful of sultanas

Give it all a big shake to mix it around.

This is my standard combo but it depends a bit on what I have in the pantry. Play around and create your own mix. Like it fruitier? Add dried apricots or dried apples. Nuttier? Walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts. You could whack in some wheatgerm for extra fibre if you like.

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Not quite lazing on a sunny afternoon

One of the things I love about Melbourne are the bike and walking paths. The Capital City Trail is a bit of a favourite of ours. It winds along the Yarra River and there is a section so peaceful and tranquil that you feel like you are out walking in the countryside but are, in fact, only a couple of kilometres from the CBD. A rather crisp Saturday morning became a perfect, sunny afternoon, and my man and I decided to take ourselves off for a stroll. Here’s what we saw.imageTwo little ducks floating along the river. One of them even took a little duck dive. Thank you, little ducky, for entertaining us!image Yellow t-shirt man was creating some new artwork on the graffiti wall. I love this splash of colour along the path and the juxtaposition of urban and natural environments.imageWe wandered past the Abbotsford Convent and saw people picnicking in the gardens. I think this is such a beautiful space to spend some time. We’ve had many a coffee here, wandered the grounds, and explored the markets that set up in the convent grounds.imageimage
imageGoats were gambolling, a horse was grazing and the windmill turning at the Collingwood Children’s Farm. This is a wonderful little farm in the city were kids can get up close to farm animals and veggies growing. When my girl was at kindergarten, she got up a little TOO close to a donkey and was swatted in the eyes by its flicking tail! That was a little traumatic!imageimageAnd we stopped for sustenance at the Farm Cafe, of course!

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imageI think that was a pretty nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Lazy but a bit active too with our strolling along the river and climbing over the footbridge and up and down steps to the river. And maybe it was not quite a day out in the bush, but it was a teeny weeny taste.

Do you have a special place you like to visit in your city? Is there a space that makes you feel you’ve travelled further than you really have?

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Have you read…? The Amateur Science of Love by Craig Sherborne

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The Amateur Science of Love was random pickup from the library shelf.  Helen Garner’s words on the book cover drew me in with their promise that my ‘illusions’ about male thinking would be shattered by this ‘thunderclap of a book’. My assumption was that this novel would explore the depth, warmth and empathetic nature of the male character. I was wrong!

Craig Sherborne’s novel is, perhaps a little disturbingly, based upon his own life. It concerns the courtship and marriage of of Colin and Tilda Butcher. Colin and Tilda meet in London. He is in his early twenties, she is in her early thirties and newly divorced. Their relationship is passionate and volatile. Sherborne is a poet and he uses language well in telling Colin and Tilda’s story . He has crafted insightful observations on love. He describes falling in love as ‘falling in sickness’ and that ‘[b]eing in love is a kind of being famous. Famous on a small scale to just one person.’ After Tilda has had surgery and he is about to look at her scars, he declares the intimacy of this act as ‘an honour…To be taken into someone’s wounds is to be trusted to recognise that only their flesh has been ruined…it has not wrecked the rest of them.’. At their wedding, as the reverend beseeches God, Colin realises that ‘humility [is] not demeaning. I never knew it [makes] you kneel and [makes] you stand tall.’.

Yet despite the beauty of the language, Colin and Tilda are ugly in the manner in which they treat each other. Whilst there are moments of compassion for each other during personal crises, for the most part their actions are governed, particularly Colin’s, by self interest and resentment. In many instances, Colin’s behaviour is appalling.  He is immature, superficial, and thinks with his penis. It hardly elevates the perception of the way men think. For me, this made the book an unpleasant read. This is not necessarily a bad thing.  Books will at times challenge us and expose us to behaviour unlike our own (I’m thinking of The Slap here!). In this case, however, I grew weary of the characters’ ongoing unpleasantness to each other. I was waiting for the novel to end so I could be rid of their nastiness. Sherborne, I later found out, wrote the story initially as an essay for The Monthly. In this shortened format, I found it a more tolerable and interesting read.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you think it’s possible to admire the writing in a book but not like the subject matter covered?

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Taking stock: November

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Goodness me! How did it become late November? We are only a month away from Christmas. Heavens to Betsy! I’m loving the sunny days November is bringing us and I’d love to kick back and chill, wiggling my toes in the sunshine, with a book and a drink. Alas, the Chrissie lists need to be thought about and compiled.  But before I do that, I think it’s time to have a cup of tea and take stock of how things are in November before the month has well and truly flown the coop.

Making: the Nordic hat pattern from this blog

Watching: the third season of Borgen. My man loves ‘Mrs Borgen’ and the Danish architecture!

Listening: to Wil Anderson’s chat with Jarrod McKenna – long but so interesting

Cooking: Portuguese chicken

Wearing: my dressing gown. It demands nothing of me!

Drinking: English breakfast tea with a dash of milk

Eating: dark chocolate

Loving: my new funkis clogs

Hearing: one of my dogs yapping

Reading: The Girl on the Train

Wondering: what to buy people for Christmas

Smelling: the fresh air coming in through my back door

Wanting: toast with vegemite

Considering: whether to buy this top. Is nice!

How has your month been? Are you making nice things? Taking Stock posts are the brainchild of the lovely Pip Lincolne. Maybe you’d like to do one too?

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One + Four = Life: the ordinary and something ace

Hello! So here we are! Sunday has rolled around again and we are gathering momentum as we hurtle towards the end of the year. Do you dread the frantic-ness of the end of year or does it exhilarate you? I try to feed off the happy energy but sometimes it just feels like a rather routine ‘to do’ list of things to tick off. Does that me sound a bit ‘bah humbug’?  Anyhoo, I am wandering off topic a little. How has your week been? Mine has been pretty standard but I did have one really nice thing happen. Read on!

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Baking for the week was the trusty old brownie. Can’t really go wrong with chocolate-y gooey -ness, can you? If you want to find the recipe, head over here.

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I’ve been following artist Jodi Wiley on Instagram for a little while now. I love her paintings of tree bark, books, and urban sketching, and, well, just everything really! I find her work so inspiring. She had a piece (the one at the far end in this photo) included in the ‘In Space’ exhibition at the Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe so I thought I’d make the trip over there to have a squiz and at the same time catch up with an old mothers’ group friend for lunch. My day was made because the lovely Jodi was there manning the desk! She was so nice. I told her she was the reason I was at the exhibition and we had an ace little chat about art and motherhood and finding time to draw. You might like to check out her work too. She has an exhibition coming up at  Monstalvat from next week. If you’re a Melbourne person, you might like to pop out and have a look. You could make a day of it exploring the beautiful grounds.

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Our weekend walks take us along leafy streets, and through parks and gardens but it also takes us along the railway line. I like the strong lines of the tracks, the graffiti on the bridge and to see the trains passing by. I wonder where the people on the carriages are going on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Are they heading off for a fun day? Maybe they are going to work? Or are they heading home after a big night out?

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I was eating my lunch today and when I looked up and outside my back windows to see the oleander in the neighbour’s garden casting this beautiful shadow on my back fence. Isn’t it lovely? I think it would make a great fabric print, don’t you?

I hope, even if your week was just a fairly ordinary one, that you were able to find some little pleasures in it. If you want to see what others have been up to, head over to Isabel’s blog.

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Mmm, brownie…

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If you’ve been reading along for a little while, you’ll know that I like to have home baked sweet treats in the house to nibble on with cups of tea after dinner. I am, however, also quite lazy. Despite having a LOVELY Kitchenaid mixer, I don’t like ‘creaming’. I don’t like lots of ingredients. I don’t like, ‘first make the base.’ Nope, I do not. I like ‘whack it all in a bowl’.

A few years ago, I came across this recipe for brownies by Bill Granger.  It is delicious and very quick to whip up. It’s perfect for cake stalls or for a friend who needs a bit of foodie love. Or to have on a rainy day, like it is in Melbourne today! I have tweaked the recipe a little. I omit the vanilla because I find it makes the end result a little cloying. I use dark choc bits rather than cutting up dark chocolate. Why? Remember?  I’m LAZY. Someimes I swap the dark choc bits for white ones. It adds a bit more of a butterscotch flavour. You could always substitute walnuts too, if nuts aren’t a problem in your home.

Do you think this looks like something you might like to try? Do you have a favourite cake stall recipe?

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One + Four = Life: happy things

Hello lovelies. How are we all going? I was a bit flat last Sunday. My planned ‘expected and unexpected’ post took on its own unexpected gravity with the events that unfolded in Paris, and my learning of some distressing ‘life has just been turned upside down’ news for a local family. Anyway, I’ve had a couple of days to digest all of that and now I’d like to share some of the nice things from last week.

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Finished my knitting! These two little guys are now with kogo for distribution as part of its Christmas Angel project. This year the goodies are being given to children of women living in women’s refuges. I hope they bring a smile to the faces of two little people.

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Last Tuesday night one of my friends texted me ‘I have two tickets to Stephen Fry for tomorrow night that I can’t use. Would you like them?’ YES, YES, YES PLEASE! I met my man in the city after he’d finished work and we had a quick bite to eat at Teatro overlooking the Yarra before heading up to Hamer Hall. Well, Stephen Fry was excellent. He spoke about his childhood and multiple expulsions from school, serving time in prison, his love for Oscar Wilde and his collaborations with his Cambridge friends. I find it quite remarkable that someone can speak on stage for just under two hours, no notes, no interval and keep an audience completely entertained.

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Friday was movie day. My buddy and I headed off to see The Dressmaker. It was pretty good. It reminded me a bit of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert with its fantastic, glamorous costumes set against the dry and dusty Australian outback, and its collection of quirky characters. Judy Davis was excellent. She had some great lines and her use of voice and facial expression was spot on. Our only quibble was that we thought Liam Hemsworth looked too young to play a contemporary of Kate Winslet’s character. Seemed a bit ridiculous to hear him uttering the line ‘Tilly Dunnage. I haven’t seen her since she was a girl!’ Anyway, Kate was very fortunate to have him cast as her love interest!

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I was out and about on Saturday when I spied this newly opened vintage shop on the main road near home. Did a quick loop around, grabbed a park and popped inside. Had a lovely time looking at the collection of Enid Blyton books, vintage cameras, fuzzy felt and some rather groovy strap on roller skates just like the ones I received from Santa when I was 8 or 9! I may have walked out with a lovely plate and bowl…

So there we have it! The nice things that happened. I hope you have nice things happen to you this week too. Maybe you will see a movie? Or perhaps there’ll be a new shop discovery for you?

If you want to see what others have been up to, head over to Isabel’s blog.

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