Taking Stock: December

image.jpegWell, here we are! Last month of the year and four more sleeps until the big red man slides down the chimney! So time to take stock before the remaining days of 2016 whiz by!

Making: this hat. Yes, it’s still okay to crochet in summer!

Cooking: Donna Hay’s chocolate fudge. No nutritional benefit but delicious!

Drinking: English breakfast tea

Eating: Christmas cake baked by my mumma

Reading: The Color Purple

Wanting: not too hot weather for Christmas Day

Looking: at my lists

Smelling: the Christmas lilies in my hallway

Hoping: everyone will like their pressies

Marvelling: at tonight’s sky

Watching: Bloodline by my lonesome and catching up with Homeland with my man

Wearing: jeans, Gorman top, cardigan and my funkis clogs

Wondering: what the new year will bring

Loving: that beach days are not far away!

Enjoying: doing a little watercolour sketch today. It’s been ages!

Feeling: okay!

Noticing: my girl’s driving is improving

Waiting: to sing carols on Christmas Eve

How is your December motoring along? Are you in control or a bit frantic? Maybe you need to take stock too? ‘Taking Stock’ is the brainchild of the lovely Pip Lincolne.

Wishing you a lovely Christmas, if that’s what happens at your place, and relaxing holiday times xx

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This was nice

imageimageimageWith my man working and the boy at the beach with friends, my girl and I decided to enjoy a very warm Wednesday night at the Queen Victoria Summer Night Market. It was pretty nice. We were overwhelmed by the array of tempting food. What to choose, what to choose? Greek, Indian, Asian, Italian, macarons, crêpes, gelato? We thought the pizza at the 400 Gradi stall looked pretty delish but decided eating pizza is not a particularly novel dining choice so thought we’d go for something a little bit different. We opted, instead, for chicken momo and Nepalese style grilled chicken from the Nepal Dining Room. The plan was to sample a bit of this and then move on to something else but my girl decided what were eating was too yum to not consume it all! So polish it off we did! We had a nice little food chat to the people we shared our table with.  They were peeling some pretty fat and fresh looking prawns and licking fingers after consuming a pork slider. The homemade lemonade from the Traditional Lemonade Stand was excellent for slaking our thirst on a hot summer night.

We do love a cake and a crêpe but when it’s over 30 degrees there’s no option other than gelato, is there? I chose the salted caramel and my girl went for the  bacione from Mercato Gelato. Severe melty, drippy problems were incurred by my girl which were pretty precarious with a white t-shirt on.  There were some interesting arm contortions in the interests of maintaining pristine clothing as we wandered around the stalls selling vintage and handmade clothing, nice smelly stuff, and jewellery.

We loved hearing the happy hubbub of people sharing the night with family and friends, the live music playing in the background, and inhaling the smells of so many different foods cooking. If it’s a balmy Melbourne night and you’re in town maybe you might like to pop in too?  We might have to go back and sample some of the other food stalls. Do you like going to markets? Do you like foodie ones? The Night Market runs until 30 March 2016 (closed 23 and 30 December).

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What I did this year

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imageimageimageAnd so, another year draws to a close. It’s hard not to do a little bit of self reflection, isn’t it? Sometimes I get a bit wistful as I look back, thinking ‘that’s all been and gone, another year older…’ Yep, I can be real cheery on New Year’s Eve! Anyhoo, I was flicking through this month’s Frankie and they had a nice little ‘What I Did This Year’ series of 20 happenings with creative peeps. That sounded a bit more celebratory so I thought I’d give it a go too. So, *drum roll*, here’s what I did this year.

  1. Welcomed in the new year in Germany
  2. Started a blog
  3. Met Pip Lincolne *happy dance*
  4. Read more books than I have for yonks
  5. Enjoyed not having to do the Saturday sport ferrying
  6. Drank lots of coffees with friends
  7. Began a volunteer role as a support person for new mums
  8. Practised my drawing
  9. Enjoyed my new kitchen
  10. Had a day out in Ballarat with with my buddy, Emily
  11. Met lots of online pals in person. Excellent fun!
  12. Went on long weekend walks with my man
  13. Finally stretched my heels to the floor in downward dog
  14. Said goodbye to one of our doggies
  15. Rejoined my local library
  16. Baked many batches of biscuits
  17. Had way too many late nights proof reading essays
  18. Did all the usual household chores
  19. Worried as my boy became a licensed driver
  20. Hugged my girl lots

I think that’s a pretty good year.  There were ups, there were downs, but there were lots of opportunities to create and feed my mind and my soul so that gives the year a pass mark in my books. How has your year been? Do you like to reflect on what has occurred or do prefer to just motor on toward the coming year?

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One + Four = Life: it’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas

Hi dee ho ho ho! Is it starting to look like Christmas at your place? Here’s what’s been happening on the festive front for me this week.

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I decided it was time to get my Christmas bake on. I’m not a huge Christmas baker. My mum makes us a beautiful Christmas cake each year which we devour very quickly, but I do like to make something which sings of Chrissie. I made these bickies, not to hang on the tree, but just to pop in the biscuit tin. They are quite nice. Gingery and buttery. I drizzled them with some melted chocolate and I think that worked a treat.

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My buddy Deanna was having a stall at the Queen Vic Market so thought I’d hop on the train and have a little look see at what was on offer. Lots of lovely goodies! Bought some earrings and a bookmark from Deanna and a lovely little pendant from Atelier Nomada which I’ll get someone in the family to give me for Christmas. These succulents weren’t part of the craft market, just the ordinary market,  but aren’t they gorgeous? I love their vibrant colours. A joy to behold. And Christmas is about joy, isn’t it?

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I don’t know who the crafty types were who did this, but I was pretty taken by these woolly trees. I think this adds a bit of handmade Christmas spirit to the city. Nice!

imageHow many blocks were used for the Lego Christmas Tree? I hope they were a bit more ordered than one huge box with people rummaging around asking ‘Have you seen a green 8. No, not a long one, a four by two.’ Aah, so many Lego memories from childhood! Imagine the instruction sheet! I thought it was pretty cool.

We’re going to do the Chrissie thing tonight – tree, wreath, Christmas lilies in the vase – all to the strains of my girl’s current Christmas favourite, The Andy Williams Christmas Album! Yep, my 16 year old is listening to Andy Williams -‘such a lovely voice!’ Do you have a favourite Christmas album?

This is the final instalment of One + Four posts for the time being. Thanks for reading along with mine and for letting me read along with yours. If you want to see what other people have been up to, pop over to Isabel’s blog. Thanks for being our host!

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Have you read…? The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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Did you like Gone GirlBefore I go to Sleep? If you did, then I’m betting that you will like The Girl on the Train.

Rachel is the alcoholic ex-wife of Tom.  Each day she travels on the train past her former marital home, which Tom now shares with his new wife, Anna, and baby daughter, and the home of their neighbours. The neighbours are unknown to Rachel, but as she passes by each day and observes their daily routines and behaviour, she constructs her own version of their lives. One morning, Rachel sees her neighbour, Megan, kissing another man and when Megan disappears, Rachel involves herself in trying to uncover what has happened to her.

The novel is told through the voices of Rachel, Anna and Megan and, as is to be expected from a thriller, things are not always as they seem. Rachel’s fractured memory due to her lack of sobriety keeps her in a state of constantly trying to work out how the events in her life, and what she has witnessed, have taken place. I won’t explain any further as I don’t want to risk revealing a spoiler!

The Girl on the Train is a quick, page-turning read. I whipped through it pretty quickly and I think it’s a perfect read for the holiday season.

Have you read this already? What did you think? Do you like a thriller?image

 

 

 

One + Four = Life: quiet days and a sad day

Hello lovelies. How are you? This week has been a quiet, puddling towards the end of the year week, but one that ended with the shedding of quite a few tears.image
You know when you pass by something really familiar but you just catch it at a slightly different angle and it’s all of a sudden ‘wow!’? When I was out walking one morning this week, I spied these tree trunks spiralling upwards.  I’d never caught them at quite this angle before.  I loved the way the bark patterning seemed to be spiralling up the trunks too.

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How gorgeous is this bougainvillea? It was dripping over a fence that backs on to the little park near our house. Such a beautiful colour. The magenta pencil was always one of my favourites in my Derwent set. I think it would have matched these blooms perfectly.

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The Christmas menu planning is underway! I spent lots of time trawling through online recipes and magazines I never usually buy looking for something a little different from last year, trying to get the balance between courses right and aiming to make the preparation as EASY as possible. My mum and I divide the task between the two of us – she does the meat and pudding, I do the nibblies entree and salads. It’s nice the share the food prep, don’t you think?

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And now, for the tears part of our week. Yesterday we said goodbye to our beautiful old dog. He came into our lives when my boy and girl were only five and three. For over 14 years he has been a loving, gentle, tolerant (how many times was he dressed up?!) presence in our home. He was the perfect companion for two growing children. But on Friday night, he began to show us that his body was weary and by Saturday we knew it was time to let him go. He was cuddled right until the end by the two people who loved him most in the world. Goodbye, Riley dog. Thank you for being such a loved part of our family.

I hope your week didn’t have any sad parts, but sadness is part of life, isn’t it? It’s not nice but it will pass. Maybe you have something cheery about your week to tell me? If you want to see what others have been up to, pop over to Isabel’s blog.

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I’m making a list…

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Are you making lots of lists at the moment? I’m compiling a few. There’s the present list, of course, but there’s also the Christmas card list, the food list, the drinks list, the crockery and cutlery list, the Christmas Day running sheet. They’re very functional lists, aren’t they? I want to make a fun list! So in that spirit, here’s a little list of things I’d like to do over the Christmas/holiday season.

Hmm, I wonder how many of these I’ll actually get to do? I know I’ll also want to have some lazy days at home chilling in the back garden and watching the tennis on the telly.  It would be nice to have weekend away with my man too. Aah, the joy of having kids who no longer need babysitters and who can drive themselves wherever they need to be! Have you thought about LAC (life after Christmas) yet? What is on your list of enjoyable things to do?

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