Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Summer school holidays with my girl

We are part way through the Summer school holidays here.  They started last year...

We're enjoying weeks of no routine and a slightly gentler pace of life.

Just as school broke up Sibs was lucky enough to spend a few days away with friends up the coast. She filled her days with hours at the beach, lots of swimming and ice creams, playing board games and generally having a fun time with great company. She came home with a glow.

Then Christmas and New Year came and went and all of a sudden we are in the countdown to a new school year. We have been shopping for school shoes. It's getting closer....

The first week of the new year was taken up with Sibs attending a Young Blue music camp. It's a five day non-residential camp where the young musicians get together and work on a themed show. This year it was Young Blue in the Jungle.  They started their days with yoga for performers, they worked in small groups on their instrumental techniques, they got to record and learn all sorts of performance and staging technical stuff, they did costume and choreography and it all concluded with a Friday afternoon show.
Young Blue is part of the Deep Blue orchestra set up. Website HERE

My first week of January was no-where near as exciting as I went back to work for a few days!

photo is from the Deep Blue Facebook page.
So last week we decided we needed to get a bit more organised. Out came the calendar, a list was drawn up of all the things we wanted to do and the people we wanted to see and we set off planning.

One of the things on my list was to get a little bit creative and spruce up some old pine stuff that I had kept hold of. I think I'm a little late to the party but I have just 'discovered' the wonder of Annie Sloan chalk paint.  I started by dropping the tin in the garage as I was getting out of the car and nearly had a heart attack - but it's been all good since then!

I've also been catching up with some crochet. This photo is roughly at the half way point of the blanket I'm working on and I'm ploughing through and up to the last third by now. Modlen loves to sit next to, or on me when I crochet but Twmff is slightly more wary!

So what else has been happening?

I had a birthday and Sibs and I spent it shopping.......for a new fridge!  (We did manage to fit in a bit of girly shopping too)

It's been very hot, so hot that the cats have been reluctant to venture out. So we've spent time chasing the air con places. The optician was one place and the shopping centres, library, cinema have all been on the list.

I have been craving the cold weather that I see back in the UK. I just love the images of the snow in the countryside that I see on my facebook and instagram feeds. Although when we were talking about this the other day I did confess that I conveniently forget about the dirty slushy ice and the biting wind and the frozen toes!

To escape a bit of the heat and humidity, Sibs and I went up to Noosa and spent the majority of the time in the water. On the odd occasion that she would get out of the pool it was straight to sit under a fan.

Time to get out....

cousin time

This morning we have been to a yoga class and Sibs is now catching up with some ballet friends before a quick turnaround and she's off for a sleepover with a school friend.

We have an appointment with Gary the back brace man tomorrow, then to the school uniform shop to swap some clothes as they no longer fit around the brace...
On Thursday we  have a catch up with a  friend from a musical that Sibs was part of last year, a couple of Australia Day parties over the weekend and then this time next week it will be Sibs's first day at her new High School.

So there goes the Summer holidays.

I'm gearing up for a busy few days before routine kicks in again.

Happy times.

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Friday, 2 January 2015

Salad and sunshine Christmas time

Twmff the cat is sad and a little bit lost. 

The cause of his bad mood is the fact that Sibs has gone camping with her dad. I tried to reassure him that I was staying at home with him, but it was no good.

Once he spotted the case he started to fret. I thought he was going to try and find a way to go with her. We have on numerous occasions found him curled up in a case that was left open.  There wasn't much space in this little overnight one though. Change of clothes, a few toiletries, a book, wind up torch, insect repellent, suncream and lip balm and a Harry Styles teddy and she's done!

So having a bit of time to myself I thought I would just record a few Christmas things. 

I've already done a bit of a recap of 2014  post HERE- two blog posts in a day? Who am I?!

This was the build up to Christmas

Sibs and I baked some cookies and some fudge for the neighbours.  We shopped...and then a bit more! We caught up with some family up the mountain. We went to watch The Nutcracker. We spent Christmas eve afternoon with friends and the girls made some reindeer cupcakes to eat after dinner.

Once home the countdown was on. Except this year it was slightly different...
We were teetering on the brink of it all last year with a tiny bit of belief still there.

This year though, there was no note for the man in the red suit and no glass of milk or carrot for Rudolph. Even though she was still quite excited, it just wasn't quite the same.

I however kept with my tradition of once the jobs are done I have a glass of Baileys with ice and some chocolates! The Baileys has to be served in the best Royal Doulton glass and the chocolates have to be imported real Cadburys!

It used to be a glass of sherry - Harveys Bristol Cream to be precise. It's so hard to find (and expensive) here that I have modified my needs and now go with the Baileys!

Usually our Christmases in Australia are big affairs. We average around 25 people not to mention the cats and the dogs!

This year was a change. We spent the day with lovely friends. It was a beautiful day. 
The morning was spent at home opening gifts and drinking coffee. Then we eventually got out of our pyjamas, got frocked up and walked around the corner. The kids jumped straight in the pool and I was served a glass of chilled champagne - what's not to love about that?

As is tradition, I'll just record what we ate. 
To start, crackers and dips and nuts, filled mini Yorkshire puddings and Sibs made Christmas trees from flat bread with spinach and feta dip and red pepper decorations. Then it was turkey (cooked on the bbq of course), glazed ham, potato salad, green salad, coleslaw and quinoa with beetroot, orange and feta. 
There was broken biscuit cake made by the son of our friends and a pavlova with lychee, coconut and passion fruit and to end the day and to soak up the champagne and wine there was a perfect cup of tea and chocolates. 

It was great just to sit and catch up. An Australian Christmas is always a relaxed day. The warm weather prevents you from rushing around even if you wanted to. 

We are very lucky to have family nearby so after the relaxation of Christmas Day and Boxing day at home we headed up the coast for Christmas number 2!

The weather had changed a little bit and whilst it was still incredibly hot and humid the occasional rain shower meant that the beach was slightly quieter than usual. 

The cousins spent time together in the water and playing the Christmas board game of the year - The Game of Life. The adults once again congregated around the table...

Nona was visiting from Victoria and so was an Italian relative of hers and the girls loved listening to her stories about Italy and learning the place names. Even though Nona has been in Australia most of her life she is so proudly Italian and has the most glorious accent.

We spent an evening here with a picnic dinner watching the river flow to the ocean and the ending of a day.

As we were clearing away our things there was a rustling in the tree overhead and this little baby possum was out gathering his supper. 

So to my family and friends back home  as you can see - Christmas is different. It's a day of sunshine and salads. There's no woolly Christmas jumper in sight!

Hope yours was great.
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Even though I don't write in this blog a much as I used to (or probably as much as I would like to), I still enjoy the fact that it allows me to reflect and remember the things that happen over time. 

Inevitably at the start of a new year you remember the last. 

The other morning as we were swapping the 2014 calendar for the new 2015 one, Sibs and I spent some time going through the scribbled entries.

2014 was a mixed bag....

In a nutshell it was a year full of wonderful opportunities of great entertainment. I was fortunate enough to experience huge musical acts in Brisbane - Queen, Robbie Williams, Hugh Laurie, Andre Bocelli, and not forgetting a memorable day with The Rolling Stones. Sibs was part of a huge production of the musical Cats and spent the first half of the year loving every second of rehearsals and theatre time. There were many amazing ballet performances too -  Romeo and Juliet, Manon (my favourite) and The Nutcracker. 

Then there was the end of a chapter with 2014 being the last year of primary school for Sibs. Last athletics carnival, last school fete, last violin concert, last this, last that...We blinked and it was over!

There was some travelling. I went to New Zealand to a family wedding and met up with relatives that I didn't know. It was wonderful. We visited Thailand and spent some time with other family and Sibs got to meet some relatives that she had never seen before. We felt very fortunate and loved the opportunity to have a bit of an adventure and do some exploring of somewhere quite different.

During this last year I managed to carry on with my weekly yoga practise and I've taught myself more crochet. I have loved the satisfaction of creating things. I feel quite deprived if I don't have my 'down time' at the end of a day with a cuppa and my latest project.

We were lucky enough to spend some weekends away at the beach or up in the mountains to get away from everything.

It makes you appreciate your surrounding even if I do miss home...

In the mixed bag of the year there were some challenges on the health front for both Sibs and I, with quite a few hospital and specialist appointments. Sibs's management of her scoliosis makes me proud of her every single day.

We go into 2015 with the same challenges but with lots more knowledge. 

So the new calendar is in place and a few entries are already up. There's lots of blank spaces to fill though....

Happy New Year, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda,

I hope it's happy and healthy,

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