Ten good things about this weekend

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This is the second in an occasional series (that means I wrote another post like this back in March!) about what’s been nice about this weekend. I’m sure there have been other pleasant weekends in between but this one has been choc full of good stuff!

  1. Meeting new people at my friend Isabel’s book club.
  2. Eating dumplings with the same new book club buddies.
  3. Movie date with another friend. We saw Murder on the Orient Express. It was entertaining, the costumes were lovely and I liked that Michelle Pfeiffer’s face had lots of movement to it. And she still looked gorgeous.
  4. Not getting hit by a car as my friend and I jumped off the tram. Phew! That would have put a dampener on the weekend!
  5. Buying this book for next month’s book club. I think it looks super interesting.
  6. Coffee in the gardens with my man.
  7. Warming sunshine with a gentle cooling breeze.
  8. Catching up with a friend for her birthday, drinking wine and munching through a burrito bowl.
  9. Watching the second season of Happy Valley.
  10. An early finish at work for my girl which saved us from a late night pick up.

And now it’s time to settle down now in front of Postcards. It’s our traditional finish to the weekend. Yep, it’s all pretty much advertorial but it’s nice to find out about local places to visit. And there’s always the anticipation of whether Bec will do the one or two handed wave with her ‘bye, bye for now’! How’s your weekend been? Have you had some chill time? Has it been a social one? Or has some solo time allowed you to recharge for the week?

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Celebrating the big 5-0 (it wasn’t mine!)

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imageLast week my man turned the big 5-0. I’ve known him since he was the not-so-big 2-0 (the age my boy is at the moment which is kinda strange!) and he’s still just as lovely! What do you get the man who has everything, or at least everything he needs? He is but a simple soul! No point getting objects for the sake of it. That just adds to clutter or landfill down the track. Nup. That’s no good. Much better to choose an experience pressie, I think! I made him a nice little card gifting him three nights away, with promises of beach walks, coffees, reading and TV viewing and a yummy lunch (well, that was actually my parents’ gift to him but it was still part of the weekend!)

We didn’t head anywhere particularly exotic, just an hour or so drive from home down to the Mornington Peninsula, but the less travel time, the more time away doing nice things, don’t you agree? Did the weekend live up to its promises? I think it did! Here’s some of the things we enjoyed.

  • beach walks in glorious sunshine
  • and then listening to the rain at night
  • gazing out at the water from the balcony of our apartment
  • coffee at A Mini Kitchen. They had the most DELICIOUS looking sweet treats. Bikkies that begged ‘EAT ME’, friands, slices, cupcakes and a spectacular meringue slathered orange and limoncello cake.
  • a yummy lunch at the epicurean. There was quite a wait so we didn’t eat til 2.30pm which felt like quite a break out of our normal daily routine. We were ‘full to pussy’s bow’ after our lunch so it was tea and toast for dinner!
  • admiring the local street art and the huge canvases of Miodrag Jankovic that were on display in a local gallery (had a chat to him too!)
  • watching The Bank Job and Arne Dahl together, then I left him to curse at the soccer whilst I warmed my legs under the doona with Stranger Things on my iPad. Not usually a sci-fi fan but my girl said she thought I’d like it and wow! The kid actors are amazing! Watching it for them, if nothing else.

I think it turned out to be quite a nice birthday present. Simple, uncomplicated, cosy. Just like him! He said he’ll have the same for his next 50th!

What do you prefer for birthdays? Some thing wrapped with a bow or something to do and remember? Are you a fan of a mini-break close to home?

Is it busy…or just out of our control?

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Oh, hello there! How are you? Has been a little while since I popped in here. Much to my disappointment. I miss being able to write about what’s been going on. But, you know, as Emily said there’s other stuff that gets in the way sometimes.  I’m not going to resort to the ‘oh, I’ve been so busy!’ exclamation – or explanation.  It seems to me that some people choose to wear this statement as a badge of honour or to inflate their sense of self. Maybe that’s not the intention, but that’s the way I see it.  Perhaps I’m being too critical. When you have multiple people living in a home, with varying schedules, varying commitments and varying levels of dependency sometimes the days fill without you having any control over them. That’s the way it’s been here. Other people have been shaping my days, not me! And it made me feel a bit tired – and overwhelmed. At times like these, if I chance to read about the ‘slow’ movement, my eyes start to well. ‘Oh, yes, please!’ my little inner voice cries, but I’m not sure how to make that work with young adults in the family – their lives aren’t quite as subject to our management as when they were younger. And, you know, we rejoice when they have the enthusiasm to embrace the opportunities that are presented to them so…what to do?!

Anyhoo, the last few days, I’ve got to back to having a bit more input into my days so that has been welcome. This is what I’ve chosen to do. And perhaps I’ve been a little extra generous to myself too!

A day in the country I popped on the train and headed out of town to visit the lovely Emily. We had a trawl through an op shop and each picked up a few $3 vintage books. One of the op shop volunteers asked us if we wanted to have some soup because it was ‘free soup Tuesday’. That’s country manners for you! We declined as we had lunch booked at  Mill Rose Cottage– where we did have soup! A delicious mushroom, leek and thyme soup. Tummies filled, we wandered through the shop next door which is fabric heaven for any quilters- or keen sewers (hope you read that word correctly!) out there. The most stunning fabrics – and a Liberty room. We met a lady with two whole albums – like an old swap card album -of Liberty samples she has been putting together over the last few months. Stunning! I bought some gorgeously soft wool to make a cowl. Emily gave me a little travelling watercolour set which she had made for me. Aren’t I lucky?

Solo trip to the movies I took myself off to see Love and Friendship, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novella, Lady Susan. I may have had a moment or two of noddy in the movie because, you know, still very tired (!) but I certainly saw enough to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Gorgeous costumes, gorgeous language and a truly ridiculous character in Sir James Martin played beautifully by Tom Bennett.

Coffee in the park A spring-like sunny day today so after my yoga class, I headed to the park with a coffee and my book for a little sustenance and read before the fruit and veggie shopping. It was lovely to feel the sun’s warmth and to feel the breeze freshen my spirits. So nice!

So! There we go! I knew last week that there was light at the end of the tunnel but nevertheless, sometimes you get a bit bogged down by it, don’t you? Or maybe you don’t? And what do you think of the whole ‘busy’ thing? Off to bake cookies for the fam now!

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Birthday niceness and getting older

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It was my birthday last Saturday. 46! I think that means I have to acknowledge that I am MIDDLE AGED! My man covered his ears when I said that. ‘No you’re not!’, he declared, vigorously shaking his head. ‘Age is just a state of mind. You’ll never be middle aged!’ That’s rather sweet of him, I guess! However, I still can’t escape the fact that in pure number terms, I have 46 years under my belt, with all the wisdom *ahem* and life experience that goes with that. It might be a bit more confronting, I suppose, if I was starting to creak and groan a bit in the old bod (and some of my friends seems to be, eek!), but 16 years of yoga and lots walks have left me feeling pretty fit and flexible up to this point. And it’s kinda cool thinking about what’s coming up in the next stage of life as the ‘school mumma’ days come to an end.

I was pretty pleased with myself that I managed to drag out the celebrations for five days! Excellent planning there. Here’s how it panned out.

Friday: Hail, Caesar! with my movie buddy followed by lunch. How was the movie? It was okay. I think the more you know about Hollywood in the ’50s, the more the movie makes sense. Loved Ralph Fiennes and Alden Ehrenreich.

Saturday: THE day! Long walk with my man and crepes for breakfast at our regular weekend spot. Lazy day of reading, crafting and having cups of tea made for me. Birthday barbecue at my parents. Pressies! I love the pencil box from my man   1

Sunday: solo time with coffee and sketching time in the park

Monday: lunch with lovely ladies at Fordham’s Milk Bar. Maybe you’ve seen Rachel Khoo’s visit to this little place? Smoked trout omelette with buffalo mozzarella was delish!

Tuesday: headed over to Thornbury, our old stamping ground, for lunch with my birthday buddy at The Kiln. It was a stinking hot day but ‘yay’ for air conditioning so we didn’t actually feel like we were actually eating in a kiln! And ‘yay’ for Mothers’ Group! We met as first time mums and nearly 20 years later we are still going strong. Haven’t kept in touch with anyone else but snaring one long term friend is pretty good, I think, don’t you? A quiet cup of tea in the afternoon with another buddy – do you love the necklace she made me? – and it was time to bring the whole birthday biz to a conclusion.

I suppose it’s easy to be a bit dismissive of birthdays; to not want to acknowledge the passing of years. But I think it is nice to celebrate what we have achieved in our life up to that point.  Not necessarily the material stuff, but the friends we have collected along the way; the experiences we have had; how we have grown, changed, softened, mellowed. What do you think? Do you embrace your birthday? Or do you prefer to skip lightly over the day?

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So what’s been happening?

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Howdy! How are we all? I feel like I’ve been away from the blog  world for a little bit. I’m not quite sure why. My girl is back at school, my boy has been away on holidays so I must have had HEAPS of time by my lonesome to compose a post. I guess I’ve just been puddling around catching up on some of the people and places I haven’t caught up with for a few months or checking out new things to do. So here, for the record, are some of the things which have kept me from tapping away at the keyboard.

Spotlight: I went to see this with my movie buddy and it was excellent. Have you heard of it? It’s about the investigative journalism team at The Boston Globe who uncovered the extent of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church in Boston. Not exactly cheery but the focus was not so much on covering the abuse but rather how the team went about its investigation. Compelling performances by a great ensemble cast, including Mark Ruffalo and Stanley Tucci. Such genuine actors. Love them!

Andy Warhol and Ai Wei Wei: Emily made the train trip from Ballarat to ‘the big smoke’ and we went to see this excellent exhibition at the NGV. It was HUGE and I think we were a little overcome by it all! We were both marvelling at the sheer volume of work that Ai Wei Wei has produced.

TV: we’ve been watching the third season of The Bridge which has been excellent, as always. A bit retro watching just one episode weekly because we are so used to binge watching whole seasons at a time! We’ve also been catching up on season two of The Americans. Yep, we are a bit behind! Kept forgetting it was on pay TV after it disappeared from free-to-air.

Podcasts:  SerialChat 10 Looks 3this chat  between Wil Anderson and Julia Zemiro, and Iz and Ez discussing booky, watchy things

Crocheting: I made another one of these giraffes for the daughter of a friend of my mum who is awaiting a tiny arrival and I’ve started on these maybelle squares (well, I’ll turn them into squares!) in the ongoing endeavour to work through my wool stash! I’m going to join them up to make a blanket, I think. Can you guess what inspired my colour choice?!

Books: I enjoyed reading Hope Farm, which my lovely girl gave me for Christmas. It’s been nominated for the Stella Prize, and deservedly so.  Isabel lent me Still Writing by Dani Shapiro, a gem of a book on writing, creativity and life. Current read? All the Light We Cannot See

Friends: coffees with lovely friends. It’s really important to nurture our relationships, isn’t it? I try to make sure I don’t leave it too long between friend catch ups because in all the busy-ness of people’s lives (yep, I hate saying that – let’s remember we don’t have to fill every second of every day for our lives to be valid), relationships can easily slide. And that’s a great pity.

Stuff: you know, the ordinary things. Domestic goddess duties, new school year adjustments, the admin of life. Not very exciting, but we all have to do it, don’t we?

How about you? Have you been out and about doing nice things? Or have you been enjoying some quiet, reflective time?

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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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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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