Monthly Archives: November 2014

Pink Play Dough


Play Dough is a big winner in our household. Ickle just can’t get enough of the stuff. She kneads it, rolls it, flattens it and moulds it into all sorts of crazy shapes. Current favourites are worms, flowers, spaghetti hair (with the aid of a great little gadget) and, of course, cupcakes!


Nana L presented her with a fabulous selection of Play Doh in mini pots shortly after Baby Lil’s arrival. And it has been used and re-used on countless occasions. Unfortunately, the individual colours have gradually morphed into a dull sludge green lump. And Ickle has been regularly disappointed to discover that we no longer have any pink, or green, or blue, or any other colour for that matter.

So, last time she requested a play dough session, I suggested we head to the kitchen to make some of our own. I’d been told it was super-easy and cheap too. I’d also earmarked a recipe on the back of a Cream of Tartar pot I had in the cupboard (untouched since an attempt to make pavlova a while back).P1020608

And it really was easy. You just measure out the ingredients, including an alarming quantity of table salt, and mix them over a medium heat for 5 minutes. And hey presto! Beautiful warm, pliable dough to work with, which lasts 4-6 months in the fridge. I only had Rose Pink food colouring to hand, so we now have a huge batch of pink dough, but Ickle is not complaining. And nor am I. No risk there of it turning sludge green in a hurry!P1020604


Where Lake Meets Ocean


Lake Macquarie is Australia’s largest coastal salt water lake, covering some 110 square kilometres. It flows out to the Tasman Sea via the Swansea Channel and Lakes Entrance, passing Reids Reserve on its journey. The reserve was named after Captain William Reid, who, way back in 1800, sailed into the entrance to the lake instead of the Hunter River where he was due to collect coal. In fact, for a number of years the lake was known as “Reid’s Mistake”, until it was renamed in honour of Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of NSW.P1020543

Daddy Ickle suggested we plan a visit to the reserve en famille last Sunday. After aiming for a morning get-away, we eventually headed out of the door at around 4 pm. Not bad going! And we took with us all the paraphernalia needed for a toddler and baby. So you pack for a week-long holiday, and then go up the road for a couple of hours.

The reserve occupies a beautiful spot and the weather really showed it in the best light: water glistening in the sunshine, trees providing some welcome shade, and the rocks and sand warm underfoot. The whole just slightly marred by the onslaught of bush flies blown in from their breeding grounds by the hot westerly winds – aargh!P1020538P1020533

The site comprises a generous grassy area, the ubiquitous Aussie outdoor barbecue, picnic tables, an amenities block and a small, very basic playground. But hey, who needs swings and slides when you can rock hop, dodge the waves, spot a giant crab, and play in the sand on the nearby beach? Ickle had a ball, with her daddy alongside her, while Baby Lil and I pottered about. I even managed to bulldoze my way along the sandy track to the beach with her stroller.P1020569

Ah, the sea and sun where the lake meets the ocean. What a pleasant way to spend an hour or so on a Sunday afternoon.