Monday, 25 August 2014

Weekend Birthday

Another year..... I won't go on about time going so fast etc, etc (but it really DOES!)

The annual breakfast in bed birthday treat happened here this weekend. She waits for me to stir and get myself out of bed and downstairs to prepare the tray with a small breakfast and a few cards and gifts. She always pretends to be asleep but the smirky smile tells me that she's been so patiently waiting....

Quick rendition of "Penblwydd Hapus" and down to the kitchen to begin a day of celebrating.

The lights are on because it's dark, which means it's early - really early! Way, way too early on a weekend morning...! We had to fit in this birthday breakfast before setting off for a school activity, but we managed - just.

No birthday can pass without cake and this year the request was marble cake. The last time I made marble cake was exactly one year ago.

The other treat for birthdays in this house is that you get to choose where or what we eat. This year it somehow lasted the whole weekend. Sibs opted to stay at home rather than choose a restaurant  and on the birthday eve it was calamari (ewww!), then the request was Cesar salad for lunch and home made ravioli for dinner. Oh, and the request for ravioli fillings? - Spinach and ricotta in some and meat in others! So in between ferrying back and fore from different weekend activities some serious work happened in the kitchen department.

Home made pasta is sooo good, but it's such a fiddle and even though there were no complaints on the taste front I have to say the presentation of the little ravioli parcels was rather questionable! The tomato sauce did its job in hiding the rather strange looking shapes!

A quick clear up and nana, Sibs and I were off out to meet up with Aunty D, Aunty L and a friend for a girls night to the city to the Tina Arena Reset Tour concert.

Sibs was amazed at the lack of screaming.  I suppose when you've experienced One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer anything else will appear subdued!

Of course there had to be the obligatory selfies.

The night was great and it was an extra special treat for Sibs to get together with Tina and the team after the concert. It did mean that it was a very late night, but a lovely ending to a packed birthday weekend.

Happy birthday to my wonderful, wonderful girl.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Relaxing retreat weekend

So last weekend I spent a few days away from it all up the mountains for some serious switch off time. Goodness, how quick the week has gone.      

By the time I picked Sibs up from her ballet class and coaxed her away from the chatting that eleven year old girls are so good at, we set off a bit later that planned.

Now there are two ways of getting to this particular middle of no-where spot that was to be our weekend destination- the 'highway and then a bit of mountain' road, or the 'mountain all the way' road. On Friday night I decided on the highway. I hadn't tried this route to get there before.....

Picture the scene - it's dark, really dark, we're a little hungry and a little impatient to get there....

The sat nav only knows part of the way..... (it really is in the middle if no-where!)

So I take the wrong turn....!

Ok, technically I didn't take the wrong turn, I just didn't take any turn!

In my (slightly weak) defence every lake looks the same in the dark! Then after miraculously avoiding an enormous deer in the middle of the road, the dusty 8km dirt track that leads to the property appeared.

The fire was blazing, the casserole was being kept warm and the relaxing could begin!
We made it!

The Saturday morning started with a quick catch up hello with the animals and after a brief introduction to the new goats, off they trotted for a walk like two obedient little dogs!

The weekend was a get together with family to celebrate two birthdays. Two cousins born almost two weeks apart turning twelve in August. We celebrated their tenth birthdays here and they have loved every visit since. It's a place that they can wander and enjoy being outdoors. Apart from my slight paranoia about snakes, they are safe! Even on this winter weekend the daylight hours are all spent outside just exploring the surroundings.

These alpacas always make me smile. They would win any staring competition without a doubt!

Just as I was snapping away at the alpacas these three were watching the action, so of course they had to be included in the photo shoot too!

One of the highlights of this particular stay was to see two koalas close up. The last few times that I've visited I've managed to spot some in the trees in the distance but this time they were so much closer to the property. It's such a reminder that I'm in Australia and not somewhere back in the Yorkshire Dales!

They were so obliging looking directly at the excited woman taking a hundred photos of them!

On the Saturday afternoon Nana had us all in stitches of laughter when she brought out some old family photos. The kids had a real giggle at the fashions and hairstyles. Laughter is so infectious.

Then as the sun set it was back indoors to light the fire, enjoy another comfort food dinner and then curl up under my new blanket with a book.

Of course it's not a birthday weekend without cake and Aunty D produced this fantastic creation on Sunday afternoon for us all to enjoy. 

Presents were exchanged and Uncle S had the brilliant idea of giving the kids the same book complete with a beautiful little message on the inside cover. 

I think Sibs was very happy with this particular birthday present!

All too soon if was Sunday afternoon and time to pack up and head back to reality.

Quick goodbye to Stuart Little and Mr Jones the goats.

Thank you Nana and Papa for organising a lovely weekend.
Until next time....

We stayed at The Hollow Log Country Retreat website link  HERE, and Facebook page link HERE

Friday, 8 August 2014

A Friday catch up

It's Friday..... thank flippin' goodness!

It's been a long few weeks ....

Partly as I have been busy putting in a few extra hours here and there with my work and partly self inflicted as I have been staying up way way too late in the evenings working on my crochet blanket and getting totally addicted to the new BBC channel on Foxtel TV!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Foxtel for bring BBC First to Australia. Burton and Taylor was superb!

So what else has been occurring?

Well the Winter has not disappointed with glorious crisp mornings and sunny afternoons. The fire has been lit a few evenings...just for the sight, sound and smell really as to be honest it hasn't been particularly cold.

The Winter school holidays were a bit of a blur as Sibs was involved in a pretty big production of CATS.

When I say pretty big, I mean huge! There were over 500 cats involved with Marina Prior as the star attraction. I did start to write a blog post about it but never quite got to finishing it. I probably should, as it was such an incredible experience for her and it would be good to capture the memories. I was involved back stage and got to witness the excitement and thrill that the young performers experienced. It was pretty magical.

So after that I took Sibs and a friend for a little break up to Noosa to visit Nana and Papa and we did the holiday stuff - meal out, market wandering, walk on the beach, paddle boarding, whale watching on her uncle's boat,  people watching. Just chilling out really - bliss.

The second half of the school year has reminded me how close we are to coming to the end of a childhood milestone - finishing primary school.
Last week Sibs and I went to be fitted out with her high school uniform. Yes, it's a full six months before she starts high school but I got a call to gently let me know that I hadn't booked in a fitting and hey, ho there was a cancellation and could I pretty please get myself organised and be at the school for 7am on a Monday morning!
When Sibs tried on the school blazer I expected to be confronted by the sight of a grown up young lady, instead I saw my little girl looking back at me. It didn't help the emotions that the high school sports fleece was the identical colour to the fleece she had when she first started primary school back in the Yorkshire Dales as a just turned four year old. Talk about flashback with a twist!

So the spare bedroom is full of uniform, bags, hats, textbooks and various school paraphernalia. Sibs keeps going in and trying things on - which I think is a good sign that she's looking forward to the change.

This boy has yet again been in the wars, we reckon he's getting pretty close to his ninth life!

We didn't see him at all last Sunday and he didn't come home that evening for his tea. I eventually heard the cat flap swing open in the early hours of Monday morning and a rather bedraggled looking Twmff appeared. He spent the day sleeping and when I checked on him he had a number of little scratches and cuts. He has since spent the week curled up and hasn't even shown any interest at all in venturing out. Something or someone has definitely spooked him. He's been getting lots of cuddles, 'cwtches' and  'maldod' so I'm sure he'll be right as rain soon.

In more exciting news.... I've finished my stripe blanket - yay!

I've really enjoyed working on this one. It's pretty heavy and warm and is just the right size to drape over two laps on the sofa. Every now and again I would question the riot of colours but when I put a border of three different tones of blue to finish it off, it seemed to work.

I'm pressing pause this weekend and going away up to the mountains for a get away weekend and I'll be taking my blanket with me. It's a place we've been to before. Somewhere to completely switch off. There's no TV, phone reception or internet connection. The only noise is the wildlife - and there's plenty of that.
I've packed two books, my toothbrush, my Ugg boots, some chocolate, my camera,  my crochet bag and not much else!

So let's hope I come back revitalized and refreshed.

Happy weekend,