Christmas Joy

December 26th, 2011 — 2:58pm, 5 comments »

Christmas Eve dinner was at my house this year.  But first, did you notice the Chinese figures on the cabinet in the background?  Here’s a close up.

Aren’t they charming?  I just love them.  They make me happy.  And I especially love them because they were a gift from Son number two and his girlfriend, who are home from China for Christmas – and for my 50th.  I know, I can’t believe it either.  But I’m adjusting.  Lovely gifts have helped a lot.

Anyway, somewhere along the way our extended family started having two Christmas dinners – a hot one with all the trimmings on Christmas Eve and  a cold one with salads, seafood and other such deliciousness on Christmas day. It spreads the festivities out a bit, and makes sense because we cook enough turkey to last both days and the rest.   The turkey cooking is men’s business actually, apart from the stuffing which is my mother’s job (that and the pumpkin pie), and is cooked in the barbie.

Many hands make light work.   One benefit of your kids growing up is that they can be useful in the kitchen, talented even.  Niece number one made the most amazing cranberry sauce (with fresh/frozen berries) infused with cinnamon and star anise.  I can’t begin to tell you how well these flavours marry with turkey.  Niece number two made her signature dish of warm beetroot, pumpkin salad with goat’s cheese and walnuts, equally stunning with turkey and the glazed ham. Their mother did a mighty fine job with her pavlova.   We decided to mix it up a bit this year and went for a lighter dessert with the heavier meal and a heavier dessert for the day time meal.  I think we got it right.

Both the dog

and his boy were in fine spirits.

A happy time was had by all.

A weekend of festivity/The party planners

April 17th, 2011 — 4:26pm, 4 comments »

Last weekend was bigger than Ben Hur, really.  I’m still recovering.  While my friend Rose was in India last month, a few of her children got busy party planning.  Daughter Issy organised (sort of) her 18th birthday soiree, also a joint 28th for son Jamie, for the Friday night here in Brisbane. Then,  as Jamie and his fiancee Karlee would be flying in from the West Coast to join family and friends for the event, they decided to get married on the Sunday, the same weekend.  Made sense.   Just a low key affair, you know, ‘simple’.  A picnic in the park… (is anything ‘a picnic in the park?’) And they’d all stay at my house.  What fun! Sometimes (thank God) – I forget I have CFS.

As de facto mother/mother-in-law I had lots of fun feeling very important; organising food, cakes, picnic stuff, florists and spas. OK, Rose helped a bit too, well lots actually…  She also flew over for the West Coast wedding for Karlee’s family and friends on the Wednesday, back in time to pick up the cakes on Friday morning for the birthday bash and get the wedding dress dry cleaned for the Sunday.  Talk about cutting it fine …

Anyway, enough of the chat, I’m sure you want to see some photos of the weekend.  The venue of the party was changed last minute to the very stylish London Club at Teneriffe, where we had the bar/lounge to ourselves for most of the evening.  Here’s the happy birthday girl working the floor…

with big brother Tom …

and bigger brother Jamie …

and biggest brother Andy watching on.

The happy mother …

and happy other mother… Excuse the blurry shot, but I had to show you my new party dress (Vic markets, Melbourne).  Do you love it?

And here is the teenager hanging out with the lads having a really good time, really …

This is a very long post, so you might want to grab a cup of tea.   I do.

So that was Friday night, at least for me, because I then went home to bed.  I do believe however that some shenanigans did go on, something about Issy wearing a motorbike helmet and brothers on the dance floor  … but my lips are sealed.  All I can say is that the next day, I was feeling better than some.

That afternoon the wedding planners and party (well just the girls) went off to The Dome Spa at the Marriott Hotel for an indulgent afternoon of facial, massage or pedicure,  spa, sauna and high tea.  What fun!  I’m sorry  I can’t show you photos of everyone lounging in their dressing gowns drinking herbal tea/champagne and feeling superbly relaxed, but I forgot my camera.  I just wish I hadn’t stayed in the sauna so long, or drunk champagne, or something, because by early evening I had the killer migraine and remained horizontal ’till morning.  Damn…  I missed the pre-wedding dinner and logistical planning session, but did manage to call out a few instructions from my bed.  I don’t think anyone was listening.

The following morning the sun was shining, always a good sign for a park wedding (and on me).

The bride was beautiful, of course …

and so was the bridesmaid…

and the wedding cupcakes.

A very happy Mr and Mrs …

and family …

and friends.  No photos, you’ll just have to take my word.

The End.

Wedding photos 1,3,4,5,6 by Jess; wedding photos 2 and 7 by Candice

Happy New Year!

January 2nd, 2011 — 2:19pm, 5 comments »

Even though the first of January is really just the day after the 31st of December – another day – it’s  so much more.   It’s a new year!  A fresh start – a clean slate, even better,  a new diary.  I love it.  I’m not really one for celebrating or rather – seeing the new year in though.   That would mean staying up late.  And in my experience, great expectations of the actual night usually fell short, and that was before the four hour wait for a cab home.  I prefer to wake up fresh to the possibilities of the new year (yes, I’m old).

The new year gives us the chance to re-assess and evaluate.  It’s an opportunity to think, dream, prioritise, plan.  Remember that feeling as a kid, starting the new school year with clean fresh notebooks and sharp pencils? Feeling organised and in control – for just a minute? The chance to do better, be better… or better still,  feel better.

This year there are so many things I would like to do.  Get organised, tone my arms, improve my photography, spruce up my blog, teach ESL to refugees, take art classes,  sew my own clothes, travel, get a part time job, extend the deck, grow my hair,  be a better world citizen and more.

However, I’ve decided to keep it simple.  First things first.  This year I’m going to focus on my health.  I figure that way I might even get to do some of the above, and if I say it out loud (cringe), it might happen.  Focusing, dwelling on, talking about my health (or lack of)  feels self indulgent, boring – not to mention depressing.  But I have finally decided that not focusing on it is even more depressing – for me anyway.  Don’t turn your computer off quite yet.  This isn’t as bad as it sounds.

So, what’s my plan?  I’m not counting on a miracle cure, in fact I am quite resigned to living with CFS, but I would like to feel a bit better.  What makes me feel better?   Yoga.  That’s all there is to it, well apart from the usual – living slow and small (mostly).  However it’s not as simple as it sounds.   Even though I love yoga, a regular practice takes discipline and energy – both of which I have little of, but could manage better.  I plan to not only maintain a gentle home practice but also join a yoga community.  This is a huge thing for me – it means I’ll have to leave the house!   However I’m proud to say I already took the next step back in 2010 and found a yoga studio and teacher I love! I even went to a few classes before I ‘crashed’ *.  (I just have to pace myself a little better next time.)

Don’t worry – I promise I’ll find other things to blog about- at least most of the time.  Otherwise we’d both be bored silly.  In fact, moving right along, I have some pictures to show you.  I celebrated the new year with a fresh look for my living room.  Just a few tweeks here and there – but very therapeutic – even fun!

Swapped the sofas around and added a few different cushions – an old Designer’s Guild crewel work cushion and a dash of orange for some zing.

Took the drop cloth off the leather sofa and let it be itself, even though I don’t love it.  Ordered a few more ikat cushions from Table Tonic.  Less floral for the new year.

Lastly changed the small blue meat safe for large white meat safe – not that you can really tell, and new vignette on top.  Voila!

* For those not familiar with common Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) terminology,  ‘I’ve crashed’  means I’ve had too much fun/tried to be normal/overdone it/ expended my energy/burnt out and have fallen into bed/a black hole/hell.

Sweet Sixteen

August 2nd, 2010 — 5:50pm, 2 comments »

Happy Birthday to my beautiful niece Paris!

A weekend of balmy weather spent with loved ones – cups of tea, meals on the deck, the final episode of Doc Martin (too funny), and birthday celebrations with more laughter.  For a closer (and less blurred) look at the Lemon Raspberry-lime Layer cake, go here