Sunday, May 26, 2013

Foggy fun

It was a fresh minus 3 degrees this morning with a rather heavy fog. While the temptation to stay snuggled up in bed was great...the boys' desire to go exploring was greater, so we layered up and headed to the other side of the lake to the National Botanic Gardens. Prime exploration location according to the Preschooler!

We armed ourselves with hot coffee and aptly named snacks

and let the boys lead the way through the mist.

It was so peaceful, quiet, still...

I never used to appreciate how beautiful the Australian bush was. When I was younger I generally deemed it a harsh, drab, unflattering landscape. But the botanic gardens really showcase the immense array of colours and textures of our natives and as an adult I now see their beauty.

Kangaroo Paw






Native Grass Tree
There were an abundance of berries which the birds were tucking into.
And we were lucky enough to spot a Kookaburra
and an Old Man Kangaroo.

The poor old fella had seen better days I'm afraid and was partially blind. Our presence didn't seem to bother him. Still, we didn't get too close. Roos pack quite a punch when they kick.

Mmmmm, pistachios!
Chilling (literally, it was cold!) in the rainforest.
I adore the below shot...Harry seems to tower over his baby brother.
The sun tried its hardest to break through the fog but to no avail. By lunchtime our fingers were numb, our noses frozen and our bellies craved something hearty and warm.
Homeward bound for tea & toasted sandwiches.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

From the Home, from the Heart.

Love, love love watching my boys helping their Daddy in the vege patch.

Harry is an old hand now but Jack is just beginning to discover the joy of using Daddy's gardening tools.

The corn, cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes and beans have finished up. Our autumn harvest is beetroot, potatoes, cos lettuce, rainbow chard, bok choy and rhubarb with broccoli, sugar peas, brussel sprouts & cauliflower on the way.

Remember this from a couple of weeks ago?

Well I managed to push past the chemo ickiness and made 16 jars of Cumquat Marmalade, Quince Jam, Beetroot & Apple relish and Green Tomato relish. Don't you just love the colours!

Preserving is a fairly labour intensive process but I really do enjoy it (when I'm not being interrupted every five minutes by Small Ones). I love hanging out in my kitchen with the Autumn sunshine streaming through the window and a doco about the Queen playing on my iPad, I love the repetition of slicing up the fruit and grating the veggies and I love the heady smell of the spices, vinegar & sugar as they bubble away on the stove. Most of all, I love the glorious colours of the preserves when they're all bottled up and the satisfaction of sharing them with friends and family. I build up a hearty stash in my larder over the course of the year and make up hampers at Christmas.

Homegrown, Homemade...get into it!!!


Friday, May 24, 2013

With Love

The most wonderful parcel arrived on my doorstep this morning from England.

A very precious package from a very precious friend.


I couldn't help but burst into tears when I saw what was nestled inside.


I have long adored Emma Bridgewater's beautiful hand decorated pottery and now I have my very first set.

Emma Bridgewater (image from her website)


Zoe has been such a dear friend to me and the thought of her returning home to England in July has me bursting into tears again. Thank goodness for Skype, social media and the good old fashioned letter which will keep us in good stead until Zoe and her lovely family come back to Australia.

While she is on the other side of the world I will be fondly thinking of her every time I pour my tea.

xx Em


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A little inspiration

We're holed up inside on this cold grey day, suffering sneezles and wheezles. To chase the rainy day blues away I've made a pot of tea and am curled up on the couch with my babies watching Charlotte's Web. It's giving me some fantastic ideas for Jack's upcoming 2nd birthday party...(oh my lord, my baby is almost two!). Poor Jack suffers from second child syndrome...he missed out on a 1st bday party, Slack Mummy never got around to filling in his baby book with all those milestones during his first year, he wears Harry's hand-me-downs and plays with Harry's old toys. He's hardly deprived but it would be nice to make him star of the show. It's been such a rough start to the year, time to do something creative and fun for the Toddler's birthday.

We've always opted for the park or our backyard for Harry's parties...which is fine in September but Jack is a July baby and July in Canberra somewhat limits our venue options. Our cottage is far too tiny to host an indoor party so I started looking around for other venues and came across the Farmyard Nursery. It couldn't be more perfect for our animal loving little man. Such a venue naturally lends itself to a 'County Fair' theme so that's what we're running with.


I've found a fab invitation design and my head is filled with so many creative DIY ideas: reams of bunting, jam jars holding paper pin wheels, toffee apples, hot dogs, popcorn, sack races, red checkered tablecloths, hay bales and fairy floss.

Check out this gorgeous party featured on the Sweet Designs blog by Amy Atlas

and these images from One Charming Party

and finally these from Pretty Little


Love unleashing my creative side and images like these inspire me to get making and baking! xxx


Monday, May 20, 2013

Sisters are doin it for themselves.

I was completely overwhelmed on the weekend.

In the most positive way possible.

By the most incredible group of women.


My beautiful maid of honour & dear friend Clare decided a little while ago that she wanted to throw a bit of a fundraising 'do' for me. If there is one thing you need to know about Clare, its that she is amazing at rallying people together and organising things, be it a weekend away, funding for a project, a girls night out or a backyard bbq...she is your woman!!! So needless to say I felt incredibly honoured and just a little bit excited! Add to the mix the rest of my fabulous girlfriends who sneakily got together in a secret facebook group and you've got a recipe for a completely fantastic night.

The event was held in a private function room at the newly renovated Royal Hotel in Queanbeyan. I had no idea what was in store for the night, other than I was to turn up to the Royal on Saturday at 7pm wearing a red dress and that Clare & 3 other friends would be shaving their heads.The rest was strictly hush hush, even my husband was sworn to secrecy on pain of death.

The first surprise of the weekend was the arrival of my old friend Amanda, who flew down from the Sunshine Coast on Friday. It was wonderful to see her, (even if the surprise went slightly awry and she was left waiting on my doorstep while I was out and about doing preschool pickup, oblivious of my visitor's arrival...oops, sorry AJ!). We had a lovely time catching up over dinner. Saturday we had breakfast together at 4th Seed, then went and picked out fabric so that I could make headscarves for each of the girls who were braving the shave. After I dropped Amanda back at her hotel, I went home, hemmed the scarves and popped them in little gift boxes along with a pretty beanie as a token of my thanks.

At 7pm I was dressed in red and ready for a rollicking Royal party!

When I walked into the Royal I couldn't believe my eyes...a sea of gorgeous women all dressed in red, a table stretching along one wall filled with incredible prizes for the raffle draws, red balloons everywhere, waiters with platters of food and a bar serving frozen margaritas.

It was so great to see so many familiar faces and very humbling to meet so many new faces too...friends of friends who had come along to show their support.

(Clare & Tammy...if these two ran our country we'd be set for life! They are a force to be reckoned with and did an amazing job organising the event!)

My friend Amita had arranged for her hairdresser to come along and shave the girls' heads. I can't tell you how proud I was of Clare, Amita, Susan and Sam. Such generous, brave and beautiful women who were willing to lose their locks as a show of support for me.

(L-R Sam, Susan, Amita & Clare)


Clare kicked it off


then Susan


then Amita

and to round it off...Sammy.


The room roared with cheers as each gorgeous girl stood up and showed off their buzz cut. And I felt brave enough to ditch my headscarf and bare my bald head and it felt GREAT!

The girls got a quick lesson on how to tie their headscarves

and then it was time to draw the raffles. My goodness I was blown away by the generosity of the businesses and individuals who had donated...the prizes were AMAZING! Headscarves from Birdsnest, beautiful wine glasses, champagne flutes, platters, a saucepan set and tea set from Bunzl Catering Supplies, $300 David Jones gift cards, iTunes gift cards, a weekend at a holiday house in Bermagui, a gorgeous indulgence hamper, a wine hamper, coffee travel mugs filled with chocolate and a basketball signed by the Canberra Capitals...AMAZING I tell you! A huge thank you goes to the management and staff of the Royal as well, they very generously donated the profits from the night and did a fantastic job with the food and cocktails.

We had great fun doing the draw.

The rest of the night was spent chatting, drinking and having a fabulous time together.

You know, as staggered as I am by the amount of money these women raised, and believe me, the amount is truly doesn't come as a surprise that they could achieve it. Women have that fantastic ability to come together and support each other. Above and beyond the financial support, which I am very grateful for, I came away from the night with an immense amount of kick ass courage and morale to face a thousand rounds of chemo. Every word of encouragement, every hug and every smile gave me the strength and determination to beat this damned disease. I have never been alone on this journey and after Saturday night I know that I never will be...these girls have my back and I love them for it!


So to Clare and all of my beautiful friends both near and far...THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!