Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Miss Meg was 8 on Saturday.  We were all prepared for a weekend full of football, 3 matches from early Saturday and probably 2 matches on Sunday.  We had discussed when we would manage to fit in birthday presents amid the rushing and chaos and had settled on a day in Sydney during the week (picked according to the weather forecast, as it happens, very well picked!) and presents most likely Friday night.  As it turned out, we had our day out then all football was called off due to waterlogged pitches.  Result!

Our day in Sydney was based around the Narnia Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum and Meg's request for Yum Cha.  I had asked for recommendations on facebook and was told Marigold on George Street was the answer.  Having never experienced Yum Cha I did some googling so that I knew what was involved.  It was a great, if not slightly scary, experience!

We'd eaten most of it by this point!

We then had a quick dash to Gap and back to the Powerhouse.  The kids all enjoyed Narnia, Robert insisted on a quick whip around the Wiggles again, then the Lego exhibit before heading out to Darling Harbour where we couldn't drag the kids away from the playground.

Darling Harbour appears to be haunted!

On the way back to the car they were all doing their usual jumping about in fountains when 2 of the boys collided and Jonathan went in, we all laughed, then Meg went in!  We laughed again and then Joseph went in!  I couldn't believe it and couldn't speak for crying with laughter!  Thankfully they were also laughing and not too far from the car to get stripped and cosied up!

When Saturday came around she had requested Lego, which, as you can no doubt tell, is the "in thing" in these parts at the moment, and I was very glad indeed that the Target Toy Sale just happened to coincide and meant I could get both things she had mentioned, from us and on behalf of the "rellies".  Thank you Target!

She did some building, then we had a little Mother-Daughter time at Frankies Place, then friends came for dinner and Sand Castle birthday cake in the evening.  Rachel made flags for the cake and decided on a Saltire for Meg's place of birth, a Tricoleur  for Bastille Day and the Australian flag for our current position.  If there had been room, there would have been a Union Jack.  Niamh was a little disturbed that there was no English flag!  Meg declared it to be the "Best birthday EVER!"

"Happy Birthday to you!"

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Wild and Woolly!

This is a bit of a belated post, kids are on holidays so I'm a wee bit busy!

I've mentioned MakeSpace, the artisan cooperative coordinated by my friend Edwina, before and I've also mentioned Renew Newcastle, an initiative to fill old, and often run-down, shops on the Hunter Street Mall (in years gone by the main shopping street in Newcastle) with non-rent paying groups of artist or crafters who do up the spaces and make use of them until someone wishes to rent them.  The aim is to Renew Newcastle!  MakeSpace is now onto it's 4th shop, having done a great job of making their previous spaces desirable to renters.  This Thursday just gone was the annual Winter Wander where the locals get to have a look and see what all the different Renew participants are up to, have some mulled wine and sticky date puddings, a bit of communal crochet (or pompom making) and listen to some live music on the Mall.  I took some photos early on but by the end of the evening, Edwina said they had served 220 sticky date puddings in 20 mins!  It was a busy evening!  Unfortunately we didn't get around to yarn bombing the Mall but we had a bit of a crochet-along and I sold a scarf!

After all the wandering was completed, there was an invitation to go along to the hippest (in the most Hipster sense you can imagine) new bar in Newcastle, Terrace Bar, where there was food, wine and music.  Edwina and I stayed on when the others left as, with 8 kids between us, we don't get out often and got a little excited to go upstairs to hear the music!  We were looking forward to the music until it started and we realised that we were too old to be deafened and headed back down stairs!  Couple of old dears! 

We ended the evening by tracking down some fantastic pides in Beaumont Street before heading home before midnight.

Meg and I managed to make it to the Olive Tree Market on Saturday, thanks to no football,  and came across someone new, Blonde Samurai, who makes gorgeous glass beads and necklaces which will make very nice presents come Christmas time, along with our usual favourites such as Frejj, Sketch and Jones, DJL tees for the men in our lives, Jo Dyer and Pipkids.   We came home to a nice tidy house - good boys!

As for the holidays, there has been much of the usual, although since Wimbledon starts about 11pm here, it's usually following a long lie-in...  Hoping Andy can deal with Roger swiftly tonight as I could really do with an early one!

Back soon, maybe even with some crochet...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


One of the things I did not expect when coming to Australia, is that I would still be so affected by Winter.  "What Winter?!"  I hear you Brits crying!  Well it's currently 6c according to my computer which is pretty parky when you don't have central heating and Aussie houses are built like caravans!   I have days if I stay in the house when I am so chilled that I just can't get heated up.  The sun doesn't reach into our house due to it's position on the hill but I refuse to put on any heating until 5pm, we just rug up with ugg boots, fleeces, jumpers and dressing gowns!

In the UK I used to get hit by it around January/February time.  It took me a few years to twig that I would have an uncharacteristic period of not coping, weepiness and inability to motivate myself.  Once I had worked it out I made an effort to book in things to look forward to (as much as possible when pretty much constantly pregnant or breast-feeding!) such as my annual haircut(!!), or a day out somewhere.

The last couple of years I have found myself feeling the same way, I dread the shorter days and cold nights and find that I am unmotivated to read, or do anything creative.  However this year I think the fact that I am bored rigid has also contributed.  I always tell the kids that only boring people get bored, but I think I have passed my SAHM date.  I had planned on 10 years but am now in my 14th, I haven't been successful in finding teaching work here (plenty of RE jobs going in the UK...) and so am feeling a bit aimless.  Between 3pm and 9pm I am run ragged with activities so have been making the most of Mon-Wed, when I am child-free between 9 and 3, to get out of the house, walk the dog, get warmed up, have a coffee, attempt some writing and see the sea.  It has definitely helped to keep me sane this Winter.    We have also enjoyed LiveSites Winter Heat again, and I'm sure having 3 birthdays within 5 weeks helps keep me focussed on fun times.

The kids are now at home for 2 weeks so no 'Me time' but plenty of action/drama/fun/frolics will, no doubt, be had.  And plenty of sleepless nights and lie-ins as I stay up to watch as much of Wimbledon as possible!  Then we will be heading into Spring and hopefully some exciting plans.

I would love to know if any of you suffer too and how you deal with it.  In an ideal world, I would take to my bed with a cosy duvet for a couple of months!